GT investigates: How some Western news agencies deceive Chinese people, distort truth while claiming not to have freedom

Editor's Note:

On April 8, 2024, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC), which has long attacked China and accused the country of "suppressing" the freedom of foreign journalists in China, released its 2023 annual "media freedoms report," once again accusing China of "restricting" the freedom of foreign journalists."

However, the qualifications and background of the FCCC itself are in question. On the one hand, Chinese authorities have never recognized the legitimacy of this organization or its role as a representative body for foreign journalists in China; on the other hand, the organization not only holds strong ideological biases against China, but also is deeply involved in providing cover for and whitewashing actions that harm China's national security, especially by anti-China forces in the US and the West.

Some foreign journalists who do not want to be associated with this organization have revealed that it is controlled by media organizations and individuals who uphold the Western discourse hegemony. Their focus is not on objectively reporting on China, but rather on smearing and demonizing the country.

Through investigation, the Global Times has found three solid examples that expose the real intention of the FCCC, which has nothing to do with "freedom."

I felt being used as 'pawn'

Mr Xu is a coach of an amateur women's soccer club in Beijing. In June 2023, he received a message on the Chinese lifestyle-sharing platform Xiaohongshu. The person who sent the message claimed to be from German TV station ZDF. Xu was told that ZDF wanted to interview the club in anticipation of the upcoming 2023 Women's World Cup and introduce the situation of women's soccer in China.

According to Xu, at the time, journalists from ZDF only mentioned that they were there to interview and report on his club and women's soccer in China. They said that they were also planning to do similar interviews in other countries to introduce the development of grassroots women's soccer around the world.

During the interview, ZDF reporters kept giving Xu the impression that they only wanted to report on grassroots women's soccer in China. Therefore, Xu, who was very willing to introduce China's grassroots women's soccer to the world, warmly welcomed the team of reporters to film interviews with the club's players, and he felt honored to represent China in the report.

However, when the program was officially broadcast on the official ZDF website, Xu was astonished to find that he had been deceived by the German media outlet, and felt as though he had been "used as a pawn."

The program broadcast by this German media outlet only used the interview with Xu's club and players as part of a larger project. The aired program contained a lot of politicized content, and used out-of-context quotes to smear China's women's rights issues, and by extension, attack China's epidemic prevention policies.

When viewed in its entirety, the report on Xu's women's soccer club does not seem to genuinely introduce China's women's soccer scene, but rather creates a "hell-like contrast" to suggest that the status of Chinese women is actually very low, Xu said.

Xu complained to the Global Times that he felt the complete program broadcast by the German media outlet looked "strange" and he couldn't understand whether they intended to report objectively or were set to deliberately vilify, because he felt that the portrayal of women's situation in Chinese society by this German media outlet was far from factual, and resembled the plight of women in far less developed countries.

Another reason why Xu feels he was deliberately misled is, before the program was aired, and upon request, Xu was shown a sample of the scheduled broadcast. However, after the complete program was aired, he found that the sample shown to him by the German media outlet was not the full version actually broadcast by the TV station. They also never informed Xu how the full version of the program would be edited and what other content would also be included.

Additionally, when the TV station first showed Xu the edited sample, he noticed that the Chinese map used by the TV station did not include the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea region, and there were also omissions in the Xizang Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Even after he raised this issue with the TV station, the final version still did not include the right map.

After the program was aired, Xu expressed his strong dissatisfaction at the actions of the German TV station, and protested against the map issue and the use of the club as a "pawn" in the program, demanding that the program be taken off the air. The person who initially contacted him from the TV station in China, however, passed the buck, arguing that this was a decision made by the German headquarters and that the China team could not decide on the matter.

Xu said that although this episode did not have a significant negative impact on him, the club, or the players who were interviewed, the irresponsible actions of this German media outlet have caused trouble for the club - especially for some of the players who appeared in the program, some of whom are university students, due to the misrepresentation of their opinions.

Xu's experience vividly illustrates an important reason why some Western media outlets are increasingly being rejected by the Chinese public: These media outlets do not respect their interview subjects, but instead deceive and exploit them to serve a predetermined narrative meant to demonize China.

No apology

Mr Luo is an economist from China. In July 2023, he was suddenly asked by a friend whether he had been interviewed by Bloomberg. This puzzled him because he had never been interviewed by the US-based media outlet. After a brief search, Luo found a Bloomberg article that had used a piece he had previously published on his WeChat account about the Chinese economy, in which Luo provided an analysis of the future of the Chinese economy. However, because they did not clarify that it was partly taken from the article, it gave the impression that Luo had been personally interviewed for the Bloomberg article.

But when Luo carefully examined the citation of his article by Bloomberg, he was surprised to find that Bloomberg had not accurately presented his views, but instead cherry-picked a few sentences that could easily be misinterpreted.

Luo believed that this would lead to his views being misunderstood and inadvertently mislead others, so he requested that Bloomberg correct the glaring errors. However, Bloomberg only added a note in the article stating that the views related to Luo were taken from his public WeChat account article and included a link, but did not address the accusation of using cherry-picked quotes made by Luo.

Frustrated, Luo engaged the services of a lawyer who sent a formal letter to Bloomberg's office in China and even went there in person to defend his rights, but he was turned away. In fact, a Bloomberg staffer, in a strongly-worded reply to the letter, stated that Bloomberg did not agree with Luo's accusation of selective quoting and therefore would not retract the article or issue an apology.

Bloomberg dismissed Luo's remonstrations despite giving the impression of respecting his views by quoting him, proving that Luo's opinions don't matter unless otherwise validated by the large media outlet.

Luo's situation is far from the only instance in which Bloomberg has stood accused of false reporting. On March 6, 2024, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government released a statement that strongly disapproved of and condemned Bloomberg's news headlines "HK says Telegram should be prohibited in Article 23 proposal," "HK says Signal should be prohibited in Article 23 proposal", and "HK Security Law Public Consultation Lists Facebook, YouTube Ban."

Those reports falsely reported that the HKSAR government would legislate to ban the operation of the mentioned platforms in Hong Kong, thereby generating misunderstanding and panic regarding the legislative proposals on Article 23 of the Basic Law, read the statement.

Freedom or discourse hegemony?

In October 2023, a Chinese woman surnamed Chen who had been living in Sweden for 20 years, was suddenly arrested by the Swedish security service in October and expelled by the government in Stockholm, after being accused of posing a national security threat, according to media reports.

The Global Times learned that Chen wrote several objective articles about China, especially regarding the situations in Xinjiang and Xizang, and organized some lectures to present the true situation in Xinjiang.

However, Chen's situation has become increasingly common in the recent past. From Canada to the US to Australia and other Western countries, media outlets constantly platform anti-China secessionists and widely publish distorted reports about China. Some Western media outlets even collaborate with their countries' intelligence agencies and other institutions in the private sector to weaken China's national security, analysts have pointed out.

What the FCCC really wants is not the freedom to report the news objectively, but the freedom to maintain this "distorted" discourse hegemony, experts warned.

Meanwhile, it is worth noting that trust in the media among Americans reached a historic low. According to a Gallup poll conducted in October 2023, only 32 percent of respondents expressed a high level of trust in the mass media. Another 29 percent indicated having "not very much" trust, while a record-high 39 percent stated they had "none at all."

Moreover, this situation is not unique to the US. A poll in November 2023 also showed that public trust in the mainstream news media in the UK ranked last among the 28 countries surveyed, with only 31 percent of UK respondents trusting the country's news media establishment.

Perhaps the FCCC should first consider the reasons behind this trend. They should think about why the citizens of their own countries are increasingly losing trust in them, experts warned.

Unrealistic for Philippines to encourage Chinese investment while provoke China, hype China threat with US, Japan: experts

Experts warned on Sunday that it is unrealistic that the Philippines wants Chinese companies to invest, but also provokes China at sea and hypes the China threat at a trilateral summit with the US and Japan, after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Saturday insisted that business deals that the Philippines secured at a summit with Japan and the US will not affect China's investments in the country.

On Thursday local time, the leaders of the US, Japan and the Philippines held their first trilateral meeting at the White House in Washington, DC. The Philippines sought to obtain at least $100 billion in investment from the US and Japan. 

Despite Marcos emphasizing that the summit "is not directed against any country" and instead is focused on deepening economic and security relations between the Philippines, the US and Japan, the three countries still directly mentioned China in their joint statement, hyping issues in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Straits, and exaggerating the so-called Chinese threat.

However, during a press conference on Saturday, when asked whether the agreements between the Philippines, the US and Japan would affect China's investments in the Philippines, Marcos said that business deals secured by the Philippines at the summit with Japan and the US would not affect China's investments in the Philippines.

Experts said that the Marcos government's shift toward the US is a "major mistake," and the change in foreign policy will have a negative impact on the Philippines-China relationship, leading to a decrease in Chinese investments in the Philippines.

"No Chinese [businessman] will invest now because I know for a fact that many Chinese who intend to invest have put it aside already because they fear that their investments might be confiscated given the hostile environment," Harry Roque, the former spokesperson for former Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, said to Al Jazeera.

It can be said that the Philippines has completely leaned toward the US in its foreign policy, placing itself under the US "Indo-Pacific Strategy" framework, Chen Xiangmiao, director of the World Navy Research Center at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

At the same time, based on the Philippines' own demands, there have been fundamental adjustments in its foreign policy, security strategy and maritime policy. The main aspects include taking more assertive actions at sea, increasing reliance on external forces to balance China, and daring to take more aggressive and tough actions at sea with the help of external forces, Chen said.

The Philippines wants Chinese companies to invest, but also wants to cooperate with the US in its containment of China, which is unrealistic, Chen noted. 

The Philippines needs investment from Chinese companies, especially as the Marcos government is facing serious domestic issues such as food security, inflation, energy security, outdated infrastructure, the need for accelerated construction, and high unemployment rates, making Chinese investment very important, Chen said. 

There are many signs in the Philippines indicating that Chinese companies have stopped or canceled their projects in the Philippines due to national sentiment and unfair treatment in policies, so Marcos' statement that it will not affect Chinese investment in the Philippines is empty words, the expert said.  

However, whether economic support from the US and Japan will help Manila solve domestic economic pressures remains unknown, Chen warned. 

China reports first successful transplantation of multi-gene-edited pig kidney into a human

Doctors from a Xi'an hospital performed xenotransplantation surgery on March 25, in which the kidney of a multi-gene-edited pig was transplanted into a brain-dead human. The kidney is still functioning well 13 days later, Beijing-based Science and Technology Daily reported on Monday.

Qin Weijun, head of urology at Xijing Hospital of the Air Force Medical University in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, told the newspaper that his surgical team transplanted the gene-edited pig kidney into the brain-dead recipient's body.

As of Sunday, the transplanted kidney had been functioning for 13 days, and was working well in the recipient's body, producing urine normally, Qin said.

According to Science and Technology Daily, this is another milestone breakthrough in the field of xenotransplantation for Qin's hospital, after it made the world's first xenogenetic liver transplantation from a multi-gene-edited pig into a brain-dead recipient.

The surgical plan was created and approved by various academic and ethics committees, and carried out strictly in accordance with relevant national regulations. The family of the patient gave consent for the research to contribute to medical advancement, according to media reports.

With the advancement of gene editing technology, pigs as donors have gradually emerged as one of the preferred candidates for human xenotransplantation due to their organ tissue structure, physiological function, and size being akin to human organs, coupled with their distant relation to humans, which can help evade rejection responses.

Editing genes of pig cells is a relatively mature technology, and pigs have strong reproductive capabilities and are easy to raise on a large scale. These factors make pigs the best choice for xenotransplantation donors under current technological conditions, Qin explained.

In recent years, with the in-depth development of gene editing technology and immunology, xenotransplantation research has dramatically progressed, and it may become an effective way to solve the organ shortage, Qin said.

Scientists said that the research represents a critical step toward the forefront of xenotransplantation in China, which will pave the way for clinical research and clinical application of xenotransplantation. It will also likely provide new options for patients with end-stage renal disease in the future.

ASEAN members frequently engage with China; 'peace & devt' mainstream for Asia-Pacific

Many key members of ASEAN have held frequent engagements with China to reinforce and further develop the friendly ties to focus on joint development recently, while the US is trying to use the Philippines to hype up frictions in the South China Sea to interrupt the regional security situation and damage China's relations with the regional countries. Experts said the mainstream of the region is still about peace and development as the vast majority of the ASEAN share consensus with China to build a community with a shared future, and the vicious attempt of foreign forces is doomed to fail.

At the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam Bui Thanh Son, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste Bendito dos Santos Freitas will separately visit China from April 2 to 5 (Tuesday to Friday), the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

Wang Wenbin, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, made the remarks at a routine press conference on Monday, and he said that Southeast Asian countries are China's friendly neighbors connected by both land and sea, and important partners for Belt and Road cooperation. These countries and China have taken the lead in building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Apart from upcoming major diplomatic events between China and relevant ASEAN members, Indonesia, the major power of the ASEAN, has already made key engagements with China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with President-elect of the Republic of Indonesia and Great Indonesia Movement Party General Chairman Prabowo Subianto in Beijing on Monday. Chinese observers said that Prabowo's visit to China has attracted widespread attention, and his decision to visit China shortly after winning Indonesia's 2024 presidential election on March 20 carries great significance, as this visit is crucial not only for the development of bilateral relations for at least next five years, but also injects positivity and stability into the whole ASEAN region.

China and Malaysia are planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties in 2024, with observers expecting that the two countries will have a series of major diplomatic activities to further promote the ties of win-win cooperation based on high-level mutual trust and shared interests.

Xu Liping, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the frequent engagements between China and so many key ASEAN members prove that China and the regional countries have strong foundation and consensus for cooperation, with China successfully inheriting the tradition of friendship to jointly build a community with a shared future with these partners.

"For instance, we are ideologically close with countries like Vietnam and Laos, and we also share similar political systems and strategic visions that could bring mutual benefits," Xu said.

Wang said on Monday that "Under the strategic guidance of heads-of-state diplomacy, the relations between China and Laos, Vietnam and Timor-Leste have entered a new era with higher quality and at a higher level. China and Laos are making active effort to deliver on the new action plan on building a community with a shared future. China and Vietnam are jointly building a community with a shared future that carries strategic significance. China and Timor-Leste are working to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership."

China hopes that through the visits, we will further work with the three countries to follow through the guidance of the important common understandings between General Secretary and President Xi Jinping and leaders of the three Southeast Asian countries, build the China-Laos and China-Vietnam community with a shared future, achieve more deliverables under the new characterization of China-Timor-Leste relations, advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and work for more practical results in the bilateral relations, Wang said.

China stands ready to work with Southeast Asian countries and other neighbors to leverage the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence this year to enhance solidarity and cooperation, safeguard peace and tranquility and provide more positive energy and stability to the region and the wider world, Wang noted.

Some of these ASEAN countries who are making efforts to promote ties with China also have sovereignty disputes with China, but they have all pragmatically and wisely managed relevant issues with China by diplomacy, and even realize joint development in relevant areas. All of these show a very different image compared to the Philippines that is being used by the US to confront China on the issue of South China Sea, experts said.

"The peace and development are the mainstream of the region, and the decoupling and bloc confrontation are unacceptable for the region. And what the US can do to use the Philippines to interrupt the regional security situation and the China-ASEAN ties is very pointless and doomed to fail. We have confidence to safeguard the peace and stability and promote development in this region with our ASEAN partners with wisdom," said Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University.

China and the US have much more in common: historian Arne Westad

Editor's Note:

The world in 2024 is not peaceful. From great power competition to regional conflicts, to numerous global challenges, the global landscape seems to be changing every day. Will the confrontation between Russia and the West lead to a "Cold War 2.0" and the return of the "Iron Curtain" ? Is the temporary stabilization of China-US relations a true departure from the downward spiral trend, or just a short and fragile period of stability?

Recently, Global Times reporters Xie Wenting and Bai Yunyi (GT) interviewed Odd Arne Westad (Westad), Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University and a leading expert in Cold War history, to analyze the evolution of the international landscape from a historian's perspective. He believes that the "post-Cold War era" that has lasted for a generation is coming to an end, although it is still unclear what kind of new international order will replace it.

GT: As a historian, how do you view current relations between China and the US? Do you think the two big powers are experiencing temporary stability under the context of prolonged tensions? Or how would you describe the current state of the bilateral relations? Could it be compared to any other historical period?

Westad: When making comparisons with earlier periods, we have to be cautious and acknowledge that there is no complete match. I am very skeptical of comparing the current situation with the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, as there are significant differences between the two. The US and the Soviet Union were not part of the same global economic system, and the ideological differences were much greater between the two sides. Upon reviewing the book written by my colleague Paul Kennedy about the antagonism between Germany and Britain in the late 19th century and early 20th century, I found more similarities with the current situation.

Unfortunately, this historical conflict eventually led to conflict and war. While I am not suggesting that the current situation will necessarily end in the same way, structurally, it shares more traits with that period than with the Cold War. I think in many ways, it is true that enormous changes are taking place now, but they don't necessarily have to end in conflict.

In reality, China and the US have much more in common. The economies may function differently on some levels, but in most terms, the economies are not that different from each other. They are market-driven in both places, oriented by rules, technology, and advances in economic terms. The two countries also have much in common in how they understand the world. Both of them want stability as a precondition for their own economic development, but they don't really know how to go about achieving it, and suspicion between the two is increasing.

I think at the moment, it's clear that the US and China are going through a very difficult period in their relationship. But I can also see ways in which the relationship could be improved incrementally. It doesn't have to be a downward spiral, but both countries will have to recognize the risks of continued tensions between them and figure out ways to address them. While the US and China will likely always have areas where they won't see eye to eye, leading to rivalry between the two, it's important to prevent this rivalry from escalating into a dangerous spiral. This is a danger that we must consider.

It is very frightening to me that the US and China do not have any kind of arms control discussions between the two sides. It's not good because it leads to misunderstandings and a lack of communication on important issues.

GT: Under what circumstances do you think China and the US will enter a new period of more balanced stability?

Westad: To me, the key issues are the security issues. For example, the situation in the Taiwan Straits is important. I have proposed, while I have been here in Beijing, something I call the Shanghai Plus, which is based on the Shanghai Communiqué in 1972 and the additions for the Chinese statement that came on and so on.

So what Shanghai Plus would actually mean is that you understand that it could under no circumstance support Taiwan independence. I think some people in the US could be interested in this.

If you can deal with this and in some other issues in which China and the US play a positive role, it will help bilateral relations get to a relatively stable stage. For instance, if you look at the Ukraine crisis, it is a significant factor in the relationship between the US and China. It is necessary to achieve at least a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine. I believe China can play a significant role. I believe that, to a certain extent, the US and China actually have a common interest in seeing a reduction in the conflict.

While the US and China may not become awesome friends over the next generation, it is important for both countries to work together on security issues to prevent escalation, and it's also possible for both sides to work together.
GT: What's your stance on if there will be or if we are already in the new Cold War between Russia and the West?

Westad: One of the many reasons why war should be avoided is that the outcomes are always unpredictable. I think at the moment, the risk of a bigger war breaking out in Ukraine is quite limited.

I don't think the current situation has anything to do with the Cold War. It is a conflict between countries. Russia is no longer a global superpower as the Soviet Union. It has become more limited in terms of its global influence. Conomically, Russia is struggling, and it is unlikely to see significant improvement in the near future.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what kind of relationship Russia will have with the US once the war is over. I think that even if there is a ceasefire, the sanctions are likely to remain in place. For Russia, this means that it will not be able to get closer to Europe, even in a regional or economic sense.

GT: From a historical perspective, what do you think are the long-term changes to the international order brought about by the Russia-Ukraine conflict?

Westad: I think it is a defining conflict in many ways. The consequences of it will be long-lasting, and it marks the end of the post-Cold War era. That period has lasted a generation, but we don't quite know what's going to replace it.

One of the most significant structural changes is the increasing military and strategic integration between Europe and the US. The neutral countries in Europe are not giving up their neutrality, but they may become more aligned with the West.
GT: In your last interview with the Global Times four years ago, you mentioned that the global pandemic would strengthen the political and social process that were already underway, such as the shift of power and influence from the West to the East. Do you still believe the process of power shifting from the West to the East is ongoing?

Westad: I still believe it, although I never thought that this was just about China. I think China is a part of it. It's a difficult task for the Chinese government to move to higher growth in an economy that is already so big. So, in that sense, if they're not going to stay at 5 percent, even 4 percent, or maybe even 3.5 percent economic growth, that's pretty good.

China, in many ways, was a pioneer of this, just like Japan was a pioneer in an earlier generation. And then it is spreading elsewhere, this is quite natural. It may be in Southeast Asia in the future. This is how development progresses.

I think the European economy is probably on a platform roughly where it is now. I don't see it as very energetic, but it doesn't have to be because Europe is already rich. They can sustain themselves, and even if they experience a smaller percentage of economic growth, it is still sustainable. I think the US, among the developed countries, is probably the place that has the best chance of reasonable economic growth. But that also depends on their policies; if they choose to involve themselves in a trade war with China, much of the economic basis for American growth will also disappear.

It is striking that last year is the first year in human history in which there is no natural population growth outside of Africa. Every single country outside of African countries has falling birth rates, sometimes at a fairly high level. The population increase is going down. Only in Africa is it actually expanding at a high rate. This has enormous demographic consequences when we move to a generation cohort, where most young people in the world will be in Africa.

Some time ago, we saw that as a massive problem, but now it's a massive opportunity. Young people have the potential to staff the factories and industries and drive productive growth in the future. Some of my American friends are saying all these countries are so backward and they have to get their policies in order. My response to this is always that, because with these points of opportunities, people will make use of it, just like in China. Why did China succeed? It had sensible economic policies and a young, hungry population who wanted to make better lives for themselves.

GT: Do you think peace and development are still the theme of our era and world?

Westad: Development, for sure. Peace is a little bit harder, but I don't think the rules that we have in place are impossible to settle. They're not the kind of rules that I would expect to lead to greater competition. Maybe it's possible to be a bit more optimistic.

I think, at least for now, stabilizing the crisis in Ukraine would be a significant step. I also think that because it would show the great powers may be able to cooperate on some of these issues.

Trilateral cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea needs to be facilitated: TCS Secretary General

Cooperation between China, Japan and South Korea is needed "as soon as possible" in the face of various challenges and crises, including geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions, Lee Hee-sup, Secretary General of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) told the Global Times during the Boao Forum for Asia in South China's Hainan Province, adding that he hopes the delayed China-Japan-South Korea leaders' summit will be resumed in the "near future."

According to Lee, digital transition for the carbon neutrality and the green growth, public health, population ageing, regional stability and peace, are issues that could be potentially discussed as part of a trilateral summit.

Various challenges and crises, including geopolitical tensions, are currently being faced. One of the most critical issues is the supply chain and industrial chains, which requires cooperation between the three countries, Lee said.

He also mentioned the trilateral meeting needs to discuss issues related to free trade agreements including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). In the face of a rapidly changing world, adjustments and improvements must be made, and the three countries of China, Japan, and South Korea need to push the RCEP to a higher level, Lee noted.

"Cooperation and solidarity of the three countries are needed and the TCS needs to facilitate trilateral cooperation as soon as possible," Lee told the Global Times. 

We should discuss the joint efforts to tackle the challenges and the crisis. This is not only important for China, Japan, and South Korea, but also for maintaining the security and stability of Asia and the world, he stressed. 

For a long time, China, Japan, and South Korea have had close cooperation on various issues related to regional security. The leaders of the three countries have also emphasized the importance of maintaining regional peace and stability on important occasions, Lee noted, saying he hopes the China-Japan-South Korea leaders' summit will be resumed. 

Lee expressed hope that if the summit is held, the three countries can once again engage in in-depth dialogue and exchange on various regional subjects, and reach consensus to effectively address the current tense situation in the region. 

According to media reports, Seoul, as the current chair of the rotating dialogue, originally expected the summit to take place by the end of 2023 or early 2024. However, reports from Japanese media suggest that the forum may be postponed until May or later.

The trilateral foreign ministers' meeting between China, Japan, and South Korea was held in Busan, South Korea on November 26, 2023. It was the 10th foreign ministers' meeting since the establishment of the China-Japan-South Korea cooperation mechanism, with the previous meeting taking place in Beijing in August 2019. 

Lee believed that the meeting of the foreign ministers of the three countries was held again after a break of more than four years, which was partly due to the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and partly due to fluctuations in bilateral relations such as between China and South Korea, and between South Korea and Japan.

In 2008, the leaders of the three countries met for the first time outside the ASEAN Plus Three (10+3) framework, taking trilateral cooperation into a new phase. The trilateral cooperation not only provides an important platform for China, Japan and the South Korea to enhance good-neighborliness and friendship and expand common interests, but also constitutes an important part of East Asia cooperation, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Asked about his opinion on the occasional cultural misunderstanding among the people of three countries, Lee emphasized the need to promote grassroots exchange. "Young people are the main players in the future for our three countries," he said. 

Lee said that some media amplify misunderstandings or distressing events by reporting on them in a way that may not accurately reflect the situation.

Xinjiang regional Party chief welcomes a delegation from Arab countries; refutes disinformation made by some forces in US, the West

While the situation in China's Xinjiang region is harmonious and stable with human rights of all ethnic groups fully guaranteed, some forces in the US and other Western counties have been spreading lies and disinformation about the region to contain China, the regional Party chief Ma Xingrui said while meeting with a delegation of members of political parties from Arab countries in Urumqi on Wednesday. 

The delegation, headed by Bassam Zakarneh, a member of Fatah's Revolutionary Council of Palestine, consists of members of political parties from multiple countries, including Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan and Tunisia are visiting the Xinjiang region, according to the Xinjiang Daily. 

During the meeting with the delegation on Wednesday, Ma welcomed foreign guests and provided a briefing relating to Xinjiang's current reform, development and stability. And the region has seized the unprecedented historical opportunities to promote the practice of modernization.

Ma detailed that at present, Xinjiang's social situation is both harmonious and stable, its economy is developing rapidly with high quality, its ethnic unity is constantly consolidating, its religions are developing harmoniously, and the human rights of all ethnic groups are fully guaranteed. 

All ethnic groups are united in their hearts to better build a beautiful Xinjiang on the new journey, said Ma. 

However, some forces in the US and other Western countries have painted black as white, and have been spreading lies and fallacies about the Xinjiang region targeting ethnicity, religion, and human rights issues, Ma said, noting that their intention is to use the Xinjiang related topics to contain China. 

The door of China's Xinjiang is always open, and the achievements of Xinjiang's opening-up and development are there for all to see, Ma said, noting that the delegation will visit various parts of Xinjiang to have a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the situation in the region. 

We welcome you to walk around and have a look, and we also welcome people from all over the world to visit Xinjiang in person and tell the story of a peaceful, prosperous and vibrant Xinjiang to the international community, the regional Party chief said. 

Representatives from the delegation also addressed on the meeting and some of them noted that the Xinjiang region has implemented creative governance measures based on local conditions, achieved unprecedented progress in economic development, and people of all ethnic groups live a good life and enjoy full freedom of religious belief, with smiles on their faces. 

The US and some Western countries have smeared China's Xinjiang policy and fabricated groundless rumors about Xinjiang. Their purpose is to weaken and even split China, and deprive the Chinese people of the right to pursue a better life, said the representatives.

A thousand words are not as good as seeing it for yourself. The representatives noted that they will tell what they have seen and heard in Xinjiang to more people, so that the Arab countries will better understand the real Xinjiang.

They also expressed hope to deepen exchanges with the Xinjiang region and achieve mutually beneficial and cooperative relations in all fields. 

China's Ministry of State Security warns self-media operators against endangering national security for seeking attention

China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) published a post on Tuesday, urging self-media operators to caution against blindly following trends that could compromise national security. It highlighted the example of some outdoor enthusiasts who share tips for "niche" photography locations on social media, boldly using "restricted areas" as a gimmick to draw attention, including sharing detailed routes to enter military restricted areas.

In recent years, some individuals previously employed in sensitive sectors such as Party and government bodies, national defense industries, and scientific research institutions have sought to attract online traffic and arouse netizens' curiosity about confidential fields by sharing their work experiences on public platforms, often imbued with a sense of mystery.

To garner attention, some have gone so far as to actively divulge state secrets, still bound by confidentiality obligations from past employers. Such actions, while potentially boosting online popularity, also risk drawing the attention of foreign intelligence agencies, according to the MSS.

The ministry referenced the newly revised law on guarding state secrets, noting that individuals privy to classified information are forbidden from disclosing any state secrets during the declassification period. Once this period concludes, they are expected to adhere to national confidentiality protocols and continue to uphold their duty to maintain the secrecy of known state secrets.

The MSS acknowledged that within legally and regulatorily permissible boundaries, sharing professional knowledge and workplace experiences could positively influence the target audience. However, those with access to state secrets are obligated to rigorously apply confidentiality laws, regulations, and institutional policies in public discourse, maintaining a steadfast commitment to confidential information.

Additionally, the MSS highlighted the issue of netizens, particularly outdoor enthusiasts, who utilize social media to disseminate guides to "niche" check-in spots, exploiting "restricted areas" as a lure for followers.

For instance, a blogger on Xiaohongshu, a platform akin to Instagram in China, published a post titled "What did I see after going through 'the forbidden area' in Central China's Wuhan," featuring photos of a young woman climbing over a fence marked "Military restricted area. Entry prohibited."

This act drew criticism from both military-affiliated media, such as the Junzhengping Studio, and Chinese netizens, who denounced the blatant disregard for national security and called for heightened public awareness regarding national defense.

Under the law on the protection of military installations, Chinese organizations and citizens bear the responsibility to safeguard military facilities, with any act disrupting the order of military restricted zones or jeopardizing the safety of military installations facing strict legal consequences.

The MSS emphasized that military areas and sensitive zones are not attractions for tourists. Misuse of such information by those with malicious intent could severely threaten national security.

Finally, the authority reminded that the internet is not beyond the reach of law, and self-media operators must shoulder the responsibility of upholding national security. They are urged not to compromise national security for the sake of online traffic, nor to venture into illegal or criminal activities.

China Coast Guard expels intruding Philippine vessels in S.China Sea; Manila urged to stop provocations

The China Coast Guard (CCG) announced on Saturday that it had expelled three Philippine vessels which had illegally intruded into waters adjacent to Ren'ai Jiao (also known as Ren'ai Reef) in China's Nansha Islands, noting that the CCG remains on full alert to safeguard China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

Experts pointed out that Philippines' frequent illegal intrusions are testing China's limits but the country may have exhausted all its tricks. They urged the Philippines to adhere to commitments and stop provocation, which is the only way to resolve the South China Sea disputes.

Gan Yu, a spokesperson for CCG, said that the Philippines sent two coast guard vessels and one supply vessel to illegally enter the waters near Ren'ai Jiao on Saturday, in an attempt to supply its illegally grounded warship and transport construction materials, deliberately disrupting the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Gan noted that despite multiple warnings and route controls from the Chinese side, the Philippine supply vessel forcibly intruded into waters adjacent to Ren'ai Jiao on Saturday, and the CCG lawfully and professionally implemented regulation, interception, and expulsion.

The Philippines' provocation came only 18 days after its last shipment, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson warned the Philippines that those who play with fire will only bring shame upon themselves. "The CCG is on high alert at all times to resolutely defend national territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests," Gan noted.

Chinese Foreign Ministry also said on Saturday that the Nansha Islands, including Ren'ai Jiao, are China's inherent territory, which has been formed and established in the long historical process and is in accordance with international law. The Philippines side should immediately stop provocations, and avoid disrupting the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

If the Philippines continues to act recklessly, China will take resolute measures to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. The Philippines will be responsible for all resulting consequences, Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

Experts reached by the Global Times on Saturday pointed out that the Philippines' frequent illegal intrusions are testing China's limits, and they also warned of the increasing likelihood of more frictions created by the country.

"The Philippines' illegal intrusions into the waters near Ren'ai Jiao are a form of consistent provocations by the country, aimed at testing China's bottom line on this matter and probing the US' response," Hu Bo, director of the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), told the Global Times.

"The Philippines may have exhausted all its tricks," Hu said on Saturday, adding that the possibility of a provocative escalation is not high. However, there may be more friction in the future as the Philippines shows no signs of stopping its provocations, the expert warned.

The Philippines has been frequently provoking tensions in the South China Sea recently by challenging China's sovereignty and maritime rights over the relevant islands and reefs. Some 34 Filipino personnel illegally landed on Tiexian Jiao (also known as Tiexian Reef) in the South China Sea on Thursday after ignoring warnings and dissuasion from the Chinese side, and the CCG's law enforcement personnel boarded the reef to investigate and handle the situation in accordance with the law.

According to the Associated Press, Philippine coast guard Commodore Jay Tarriela said at a news conference on Friday that the personnel landed on Tiexian Jiao were "marine scientists" conducting research.

Chinese experts said sending questionable "marine scientists" amid escalated tensions is hardly the way to solve the South China Sea dispute and only strengthens the impressions that the Philippines is actively trying to occupy the uninhabited reef and further provoke China.

According to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), the Parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability, including refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features.

The Philippines' move violates the commitment in the DOC that all parties should not occupy uninhabited islands and reefs, which is the core of the declaration and a key factor in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea for the past two decades, Lei Xiaolu, a professor of law in China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies, Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

The expert emphasized that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, including Tiexian Jiao, and adjacent waters. "There is no international law that justifies a country conducting 'scientific research' on the territory of another sovereign nation," Lei said.

From last year onward, the Philippines has been engaging in increasingly provocative activities with the goal of illegally occupying some of China's reefs, and these aggressive behaviors are the primary cause of the escalating tensions in the South China Sea, analysts said. The Philippines should adhere to its commitments and stop provocation, which is the only way to resolve the South China Sea dispute, they said.