‘Global Village Today’ presents big news from different countries around the world.
Host) What news do you have today?
Reporter) Yes. It is known that the Chinese government is looking for participants in protests against the new intensive corona quarantine policy. The meeting of foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Romania started on a two-day schedule.
Host) Global Village Today, here is the first news. Last weekend, large-scale protests were held in major cities in China to protest the government’s corona quarantine measures. How is the situation now?
Reporter) Following yesterday and today (29th), as the Chinese authorities deployed a large number of public security in major cities across the country and strengthened surveillance, protests were not held on such a large scale as the weekend in most areas.
Moderator) Additional protests were canceled due to the high intensity response of the Chinese authorities?
Reporter) Yes. Major media outlets, such as ‘Reuters’ and ‘BBC’ broadcasts, quoted local residents and reported that weekend protesters planned to hold follow-up protests in Shanghai and Beijing on yesterday evening (28th). However, it was reported that the authorities prevented people from gathering by placing public security and patrol vehicles in advance and asking passers-by for identification details and mobile phones.
Moderator) Why did Chinese public security need people’s cell phones?
Reporter) It appears that it is to block real-time transmission of the local situation via the Internet and subsequent protests. Currently, China blocks all foreign social media such as Twitter, YouTube, and Telegram, and only allows users to use domestically developed apps such as Weibo and WeChat. However, many Internet users in China are known to avoid access through virtual private networks (VPNs). The situation of the weekend’s protests was also quickly communicated around the world through this. The subsequent meeting place is also known to have been shared via Telegram.
Host) Are you saying that the Chinese authorities delete all posts related to protests?
Reporter) Yes. Currently, all posts and videos related to the protests have been removed from Chinese social media. Chinese state media has been silent with little or no coverage of the protests. Amidst this, China’s state media newspaper Global Times spread the tone of blaming the local authorities for the protests.
Host) What do you mean by local authority fault?
Reporter) Yes. Some local governments have implemented excessive quarantine policies, causing inconvenience to residents, but there is no problem with the central government’s corona policy. At the same time, it was reported that the central government had sent a working group to oversee the quarantine situation of all local governments. There were also claims that foreign forces had intervened in the protests. Prominent Chinese bloggers, including a top Chinese Communist Party leader and grandson of former Guangdong provincial secretary Ren Zhongyi, wrote on Weibo that the weekend protests were instigated by foreign powers, saying, “Their purpose is to deepen internal conflict.” it was claimed.
Moderator) In the middle of this, Chinese authorities are hunting protesters?
Reporter) Yes. News agencies ‘Reuters’ and ‘AFP’ presented cases such as receiving calls from authorities to appear before the police today (29th). A student from Peking University also revealed that the school asked him to prove in writing that he did not take part in the weekend protests. On the other hand, another participant who asked to remain anonymous told ‘Reuters’, “Now we are actively deleting the stories we have shared in the chat window.”
Moderator) Many college students are said to have participated in the weekend protests, correct?
Reporter) Yes. Students from more than 50 universities in China, including Tsinghua University and Peking University, former students of President Xi Jinping, are known to have participated in the protest on campus. However, several universities are now sending students home.
Moderator) Why are school authorities sending students home, is it related to this protest?
Reporter) Most universities, including Tsinghua University and Peking University, said they are taking measures to protect students from corona. However, it is read that the purpose is to prevent further protests. Some universities have organized bus services to take students to train stations, and have said that all classes and final exams will be held online.
Moderator) How is the international community responding to this situation in China?
Reporter) John Kirby, the White House National Security Council (NSC) Strategic Communications Coordinator, said in a briefing session yesterday (28th) that the United States supports the right to peaceful protest. Coordinator Kirby said the US message on peaceful protests around the world has been consistent: peaceful protest against policies, laws and mandates should be allowed. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has accused China of becoming more authoritarian than ever before. The British Foreign Secretary, James Clavery, also said that counter-protests in China are very rare, saying that it should be noted not only by the world but also by the Chinese government that this has happened.
Host) Global village today, the next news. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) foreign ministers’ meeting has started, right?
Reporter) Yes. The NATO foreign ministers’ meeting will be held today (29th) and tomorrow in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. This meeting will take place seven months after last April. In addition to the foreign ministers of 30 NATO member states, Dmitro Kuleva, the foreign minister of Ukraine, will be present in particular.
Moderator) What issues will be discussed at this meeting?
Reporter) The biggest agenda is the additional aid plan for Ukraine. The meeting will also address the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden, the security threat posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and how to respond to new challenges from China, the Associated Press reported.
Moderator) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg held a press conference there, right?
Reporter) Yes. “NATO will help Ukraine as needed to defend itself against Russia,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference before the meeting yesterday (28th). “We will continue to stand by Ukraine no matter how long it takes.” Stoltenberg also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “trying to use the winter as a weapon in the war against Ukraine” and that NATO members and Ukraine must prepare for further attacks.
Presenter) Right now, Ukraine is facing a severe power shortage due to the damage to its energy infrastructure, right?
Reporter) Yes. As a result, at this NATO meeting, it is expected that discussions will focus on support for non-combat items, such as fuel, generators, winter goods, and medical equipment. There are also speculations that member states will individually announce new military aid to Ukraine. But support at the NATO level is likely to be avoided in order to avoid escalating tensions with Russia, the Associated Press reported.
Moderator) How is the US move?
Reporter) US government officials said that Secretary of State Tony Blincoln will announce US support for Ukraine’s energy grid at the meeting. Details were not disclosed, but US officials said the assistance was very practical.
Moderator) The main agenda of this meeting is the issue of NATO membership in Finland and Sweden?
Reporter) Yes. In a press conference, Stoltenberg said, “Now is the time to complete the admission process for Finland and Sweden.”
Moderator) It’s been quite some time since both countries submitted applications to join NATO, right?
Reporter) Yes. Sweden and Finland submitted formal applications for NATO membership on May 18. These two rich Nordic countries have long maintained a neutral course following a policy of military non-alignment. However, after Russia invaded Ukraine, it changed course to join NATO, a collective defense system, through a referendum.
Moderator) At what stage are the two countries joining NATO now?
Reporter) NATO membership requires the consent of all 30 member states. In other words, it must be ratified by the parliament of each member state. It is currently subject to ratification by Turkey and Hungary. The United States confirmed in August.
Moderator) Wasn’t Turkey’s opposition to NATO membership of both countries particularly strong?
Reporter) That’s right. Turkey has disputed Finland and Sweden’s tolerance of separatist groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey considers a terrorist group. The persuasion of the NATO leadership and the two countries promised a solution through dialogue, and at the NATO Summit in June, they announced that they were in favor of joining NATO. However, recently, as military tensions between Kurdish and Turkish militants escalate in northern Syria, it is becoming a new variable again.
Moderator) Yes. Global Village Today, I will listen to this.