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China Weekly Update (Week of August 28th)

Suicide Blast at Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyz Capital Bishkek

A suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into the gate of the Chinese embassy before activating an explosive (New York Times). The explosion injured five people: three Kyrgyz employees of the embassy and two security guards (The Wall Street Journal). The victims were all rushed to the hospital. The embassy and other surrounding buildings were partially damaged, and the assailant died in the explosion. The Chinese embassy and the nearby American embassy were both evacuated as a result of this attack. China’s foreign ministry called the attack “an extreme and violent attack,” urging authorities to “get to the bottom of the incident” (Al Jazeera). China further emphasized that they would take necessary action against terrorism and fulfill their duty to protect their citizens and governmental organizations. The Kyrgyzstan government calls this a “terrorist act,” and additionally states that the data reveals the terrorist to be of the Uighur ethnic group, an ethnic minority group in Central Asia that is currently embroiled in tensions with China to separate the Xinjiang province into its own self-governing state. The Kyrgyzstan government plans to ramp up security amidst their upcoming celebration of the 25th anniversary of their independence from the Soviet Union.

(Al Jazeera, August 30, 2016) (New York Times, August 30, 2016) (The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2016)

China Prepares for the G20 in Hangzhou

China is currently preparing Hangzhou to host the September 4th-5th G20 Summit. As part of cleaning out the city, the government has bolstered support for the removal of the four pests: cockroaches, flies, rodents, and mosquitoes (The Guardian). This is China’s first time hosting the G20 summit, and, in addition to giving China the chance to showcase its rise on the world stage, it gives China the chance to improve infrastructure in Hangzhou. Roads are being repaved, newer homes are being built, subways are being expanded, and more greenery is being planted. Factories have also been shut down and monitored in order to cut down on pollution. Security has been increased in order to ensure safety of everyone at the G20 and a good image for China (New York Times). These developments benefit the Hangzhou locals, but they are not without their controversies: some residents are having their houses demolished if they live near the site of the G20, and political dissidents are being strongly encouraged not to speak in order to prevent divisive rhetoric. The security measures contribute to some discrimination against ethnic minorities, specifically Uighurs. Additionally, many locals, who have experienced a polluted environment and unsafe food their whole lives, are incensed by the government’s sudden desire to clean the environment in order to look good in the eyes of western powers.

(The Guardian, August 30th, 2016) (New York Times, August 30th, 2016)