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Xi Jinping vows Taiwan’s ‘reunification’ with China will be fulfilled | Taiwan

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China’s president, Xi Jinping, has vowed to realise “reunification” with Taiwan, without mentioning the use of force, after a week of tensions.

Democratically run Taiwan has come under increased military and political pressure to accept Beijing’s sovereignty, but Taiwan says it is an independent country, using its formal name: the Republic of China.

Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Saturday, Xi said the Chinese people had a “glorious tradition” of opposing separatism.

“Taiwan’s independence separatism is the biggest obstacle to achieving the reunification of the motherland, and the most serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation,” he said on the anniversary of the revolution that overthrew China’s last imperial dynasty in 1911. Taiwan marks 10 October, when the revolution began, as its national day.

Xi said “reunification through a peaceful manner is the most in line with the overall interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwan compatriots”, but added that China will protect its sovereignty and unity.

“No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Xi said.

“The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.”

He struck a slightly softer tone than in July, his last major speech mentioning Taiwan, in which he vowed to “smash” any attempts at formal independence.

In 2019, he directly threatened to use force to bring the island under Beijing’s control.

China’s air force mounted four straight days of incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone from 1 October, involving close to 150 aircraft.

Speaking shortly before Xi, Taiwan’s premier, Su Tseng-chang, noted that China had been “flexing its muscles” and causing regional tensions.

“This is why countries that believe in freedom, democracy and human rights, and based on shared values, are all working together and have repeatedly warned that China should not invade Taiwan,” Su said.

With Reuters and Associated Press


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Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov win Nobel Peace Prize

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Ressa is the CEO of Rappler, a news outlet critical of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime, while Muratov heads the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Both have faced legal and physical threats during their careers, as their respective governments cracked down on the rights of journalists.

“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said as she announced the prize in Oslo on Friday.

She said the pair are “representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.” Reiss-Andersen added that the committee’s choice was intended to “underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights.”

Ressa, a former CNN bureau chief and TIME Person of the Year, has been engulfed in legal battles in recent years and says she has been targeted because of her news site’s critical reports on Duterte.

“We need to sound the alert to every person in a democracy,” she told CNN in 2019 on her fight for freedom of expression. “These freedoms are being eroded in front of our eyes … If you don’t have facts, you can’t have truth.”
Ressa becomes the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize this year. The awards in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature were given out earlier this week.

Six staff members at the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta have been killed since Muratov co-founded the outlet in 1993, the committee said. He has served as the paper’s editor-in-chief since 1995.

“The newspaper’s fact-based journalism and professional integrity have made it an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media,” the committee said.

It added that Muratov has “consistently defended the right of journalists to write anything they want about whatever they want, as long as they comply with the professional and ethical standards of journalism.”

Press freedom curtailed worldwide

The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to recognize two journalists comes as countries around the world roll back the rights of reporters.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, themselves considered a contender for the prize, said in its most recent Press Freedom Index that journalism “is totally blocked or seriously impeded in 73 countries and constrained in 59 others.”

Last year the organization told CNN that had a free press been allowed in China, the world would have known about the coronavirus outbreak far earlier and the virus may not have been allowed to spiral into a global pandemic.

“Freedom of expression and freedom of information help to ensure an informed public,” Reiss-Andersen said during Friday’s ceremony. “These rights are crucial prerequisites for democracy and protect against war and conflict.”

From Belarus to Hong Kong, journalists 'are bearing the brunt of the global surge in repression'

The crackdown on journalistic freedom is closely felt at both Rappler and Novaya Gazeta. Reacting to his win, Muratov said the prize is a testament to the newspaper’s dedication to free speech and his colleagues who have died fighting for it, Russian state media TASS reported.

“I worked, I was busy. They called me from the Nobel Committee, but I didn’t pick up the phone. I didn’t even have time to read the entire text,” he told TASS. “I’ll tell you this: this is not my merit. This is Novaya Gazeta. These are those who died defending the right of people to freedom of speech.”

Anna Politkovskaya, once a leading voice in Russia reporting on the Chechnya war for Novaya Gazeta, was killed 15 years ago on Thursday.

“I am in shock,” Ressa said during a live broadcast by Rappler on Friday, according to Reuters. On Thursday, a day before she won the prize, Ressa spoke to CNN about next year’s Philippine elections. “I have covered this country since 1986, I’ve never been the news but the only reason I’ve become the news is because I refuse to be stamped down, I refuse to stop doing my job the way I should,” she said.

Maria Ressa during a press conference in Manila in 2018.

Ressa added that while she was at CNN, she “had enough of a network to be able to fight back” against threats to freedom of expression. “I’m not fighting against the Duterte administration, I’m fighting for my rights. I’m still idealistic,” she said.

Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, congratulated the pair on their victory, calling Ressa and Muratov “two fearless journalists and symbols of the struggle for press freedom.”

It is the 102nd time the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded. Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Polish dissident Lech Walesa, the Soviet Union’s last leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and four US Presidents. Last year the UN’s World Food Programme claimed the prize.
The prize has at times attracted controversy. In 2019, the award was given to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has since become an international pariah for his role in presiding over a protracted civil war in Tigray that, by many accounts, bears the hallmarks of genocide and has the potential to destabilize the wider Horn of Africa region.

Reiss-Andersen was asked to comment on whether Ahmed has lived up to the committee’s expectations during Friday’s press conference, but avoided the question.


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China’s Xi calls for peaceful reunification with Taiwan

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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping said on Saturday reunification with Taiwan must happen and will happen peacefully, despite a ratcheting-up of China’s threats to attack the island.

Xi spoke on at an official celebration in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People the focused largely on the need for the ruling Communist Party to continue to lead China as the country rises in power and influence.

“Reunification of the nation must be realized, and will definitely be realized,” Xi said. “Reunification through a peaceful manner is the most in line with the overall interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwan compatriots.”

The celebration was in honor of the 110th anniversary of the Chinese revolution in 1911 leading to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and establishment of the Republic of China led by Sun Yat-sen. Oct. 10 is celebrated in Taiwan as National Day and Xi’s address touched on common aspirations for a unified future, despite the stark differences between China’s authoritarian one-party system and Taiwan’s vibrant multi-party democracy.

Xi’s remarks came just days after the Chinese military sent a record number of military aircraft flying towards Taiwan in exercises that the self-ruled island has called a threat. Over the course of four days, starting last week, the People’s Liberation Army flew fighter jets, bombers and airborne early warning aircraft 149 times towards Taiwan, with the largest maneuver involving 52 jets at once.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 amid civil war, with the then ruling Nationalist Party fleeing to the island as Mao Zedong’s Communists swept to power on the mainland.

Since then, Taiwan has been self-ruled, but its sovereignty is denied by Beijing, which has refused to renounce the option of using force to bring the island under its control. Beijing has also sought to isolate Taiwan internationally by barring it from the United Nations and other international organizations and opposing official contacts between its government and nations that recognize China, especially the United States, which is legally bound to consider threats against Taipei a matter of “grave concern.”

“Taiwanese separatism is the biggest obstacle to the motherland’s reunification,” Xi added, saying those who advocated for independence would be “condemned by history.”


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US appeals court allows Texas to resume ban on most abortions | Women’s Rights News

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Ruling by the New Orleans-based court came as clinics in Texas resumed providing abortions.

A US federal appeals court ruled Friday that Texas could resume its ban on most abortions, two days after another court suspended the ban.

The ruling by the New Orleans-based court came as clinics in Texas resumed providing abortions for the first time since the law – prohibiting abortions beyond around six weeks – came into effect in September.

A three-judge Fifth Circuit panel gave the Justice Department until Tuesday to respond to Texas’s filings.

Justice Department representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed earlier on Friday the ruling by US District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin, preventing the state from enforcing the Republican-backed law, which prohibits women from obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, while litigation over its legality continues.

The case is part of a fierce legal battle over access to abortion in the US, with numerous states trying to enforce restrictions on the procedure.

President Joe Biden’s administration brought forward a challenge to the Texas law after the US Supreme Court had allowed it to go into effect.

Biden’s Justice Department sued Texas on September 9 and sought a temporary injunction against the law, arguing during an October 1 hearing that the measure violates the US Constitution.

The US Supreme Court on September 1 allowed the law to take effect in a 5-4 vote led by conservative justices.

At six weeks of pregnancy, many women do not even know they are pregnant. The law makes no exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

The Texas law enables citizens to enforce the ban, rewarding them with at least $10,000 if they successfully sue anyone who helps provide an abortion after foetal cardiac activity is detected. Critics of the law have said this provision lets people act as anti-abortion bounty hunters.

The Justice Department argued that the law impedes women from exercising their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy that was recognised in the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision.

The 1973 landmark ruling legalised abortion across the US.


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