Violations of International Criminal Law in the Suppression of Falun Gong
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 7, July 2022
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, circa 2000. Source: Falun Data Infocenter.
In July 1999, the Communist Party of China launched a nationwide campaign to eliminate Falun Gong, a spiritual practice believed to have as many as 70 million adherents. Since that time, hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of Falun Gong practitioners have been detained without due process in prisons, reeducation-through-labour camps, detention centers, and “black jails.” Torture and other high-pressure methods are used to force adherents to renounce their beliefs, sometimes resulting in deaths, while official sources and state-run media agencies depict the group as evil and openly call for its “complete eradication.”
In response to the suppression campaign, Falun Gong adherents outside China have sought to invoke the concept of universal jurisdiction to bring charges against senior Chinese leaders alleging torture, genocide, and crimes against humanity. This essay assesses the claims of genocide committed against the Falun Gong by making reference to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and jurisprudence of international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. It argues that while some aspects of the Falun Gong case are unique—such as the potential ambiguity of the group’s religious identity—the suppression of Falun Gong would likely satisfy the convention definition of genocide. Continue reading →
A Threat to Global Interdependence and Regional Stability
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 7, July 2022
Map of the South China Sea, with 9-dotted line highlighted in green. Source: CIA.
Priscilla Tacujan, Ph.D. U.S. Department of Defense
China’s expansionism in the South China Sea (SCS) is underway, despite opposition from small littoral states and regional powers in the area. China is seeking to change the legal order governing maritime conduct by engaging in “lawfare” and infrastructure-building on disputed waters as part of its maritime strategy. Lawfare enables Beijing to undermine established elements of international law and delegitimize neighboring states’ maritime claims. Claimant countries and the U.S. have argued for the importance of a rules-based approach that offers clear and uniform rules for maritime conduct. However, in the absence of enforcement mechanisms, China will likely continue to undermine international law, prevent littoral states from advancing their maritime claims, and threaten regional stability and global interdependence. Assessing and improving countermeasures currently in place, including enforcement mechanisms, existing maritime coalitions with regional allies and the U.S., and freedom of navigation (FON) operations may deter Chinese aggression and prevent the escalation of maritime conflicts in the SCS.
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 6, June 2022
Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, and Solomons Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele, 2019. Source: cnsphoto
Yan C. Bennett
Charles Darwin University
It is apparent that Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream now includes the Pacific Ocean where his Foreign Minister Wang Yi has undertaken a Pacific Islands tour of broad scope and ambition. While China’s economy is stagnating, it nevertheless continues to drive for increasing its world power as Minister Wang aims to finalise the China-Solomons Security agreement and has hosted a Pacific Island Foreign Ministers meeting whilst in Fiji. Wang’s proposals have prompted strong responses from the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific, in particular Australia and New Zealand.
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 10, No. 5, May 2022
Former President Nixon and Henry Kissinger engrossed in conversation, 1972. Source: Wikimedia.
Tony Zielinski Attorney at Law
Editor’s note: This satire is meant for purposes of humor and should not be interpreted as historically accurate.
Henry Kissinger: Mr. President, I suggest we open up formal relations with Communist China and they will be our allies against the Soviet Union.
President Nixon: Do you feel we can trust their leader, Mao Tse Tung?
Henry Kissinger: Mao Tse Tung is the greatest mass murderer in history. He is responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin. He is a ruthless unscrupulous tyrant. So my answer is a most resounding yes.
President Nixon: Yes…I think I understand and can work with someone like that.
Henry Kissinger: A big challenge will be how we deal with Democratic and free Taiwan. They have been great friends and allies. Communist China regards them as a renegade state and China will not rest until they conquer Taiwan and take away their freedoms. China will subjugate them to unspeakable brutality because they dared to have freedom of speech, freedom of press, and the right to vote for their elected representatives. Mao will never forgive them.
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 9, No. 11, November 2021
TikTok logo. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Last year’s “TikTok war” revealed unprecedented hostility of the US government towards the Chinese tech newcomer. The seemingly innocuous software was developed by ByteDance, a Chinese unicorn company. TikTok is a sister app of Douyin, created for the Chinese market. Both apps allow users to share and watch short videos. In July 2020, then-President Donald Trump accused TikTok of a series of breaches, the most serious of which was sharing user data with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Levine, 2020). Yet, some experts, including Adam Segal from the Council of Foreign Relations, considered the near-ban a smokescreen to hinder the growth of the most globally successful Chinese app to date (Campbell, 2020). In 2020, TikTok was the most downloaded app globally, with 89 million new users just in the US (Geyser, 2021). To date, 23% of Americans use or have watched TikTok, with an average American user having spent 14.3 hours monthly on the app in 2020 (Tankovska, 2021).