Happy Wednesday and welcome back, Axios China readers. Today we've got secret Chinese documents, Huawei and U.S. businesses, and tons more.
Image credit: Aïda Amer/Axios
Axios has obtained a Chinese government request sent to the Turkish government for a Uighur man who fled Xinjiang amid worsening repression.
Why it matters: Uighurs living outside China have long suspected Beijing is using its growing diplomatic and economic clout to pressure foreign governments into interrogating and deporting them.
"I spend most of my nights in fear. I usually don’t sleep until after 1am because I am afraid they will come for me and my family."— Enver Turdi, in an interview with Axios
Details: Enver Turdi, the man named in the extradition request, has lived in Turkey since early 2014 when he fled Xinjiang, a region in northwest China that is home to around 10 million Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking ethnic minority.
Enver's case is still pending in the Turkish courts.
The documents: The dossier is 92 pages long and includes the Chinese government extradition request, dated May 2016, supporting police reports, Turkish translations provided by the Chinese government, and Turkish government documents from 2017 indicating the request was accepted by the Turkish Ministry of Justice and that court proceedings were initiated.
What they're saying: The Chinese government accused Enver of creating a pro-Islamic State website and participating in a terrorist organization. Enver denies these accusations.
Context: After thousands of Uighurs left China amid worsening repression over the past decade, the Chinese government launched a quiet global campaign to force Uighurs to return.
“The lengths that China will go to control Uighurs is stunning,” said Elise Anderson, a program officer at the Uighur Human Rights Project, a U.S.-based advocacy organization, told Axios.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
A new regulation announced last week requires foreign semiconductor suppliers that use U.S. designs to get a license from the U.S. government before selling to Huawei.
Why it matters: The new restrictions may reduce revenues and hobble research and development for U.S. companies.
What they're saying: "It could make it very difficult for U.S. companies who have been selling their products to Chinese companies," said Doug Barry, communications director at the U.S.-China Business Council.
Background: The U.S. first placed export limits on Huawei in May 2019. But those guidelines were porous. Huawei could still get U.S. products through third-party vendors. Now that loophole is largely closed.
What to watch: Other Chinese companies will be affected too, particularly if the Chinese government chooses to retaliate by limiting U.S. access to China's markets.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
A legal scholar is raising concerns about the Department of Justice's China Initiative, which is aimed at countering economic espionage, theft of intellectual property and other national security concerns related to China, and its possible implications for civil rights.
Why it matters: Amid the U.S. government's new emphasis on countering threats from China, there is growing concern about the potential for over-zealous or discriminatory investigations.
What's new: Maggie Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University School of Law who focuses on criminal justice law in China and Taiwan, argues in a new draft paper in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology that the use of "China" as a frame doesn't sit well with the Department of Justice's own principles.
The solution: Lewis said the U.S. government should explore measures such as enhanced audits and tightened regulation before resorting to a criminal law response.
The bottom line: "You don’t want to be a Pollyanna and deny that there is a threat," Lewis told Axios in an interview. "But you don’t also want to have over-deterrence. You want to find the sweet spot. I’m not convinced that the China Initiative is currently doing that."
In 2019, Germans were twice as likely to prefer a close partnership with the U.S. (50%) as China (24%).
Why it matters: Perceptions of the world's two biggest powers could be shifting in profound ways during the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus vs. cinema: How can China's film and television industry save itself? (RFA)
Leninist-fascist-something: What kind of regime does China have? (The American Interest)
Ni Hao Alexa: How a Chinese AI giant made chatting — and surveillance — easy (Wired)
Image credit: Aïda Amer/Axios
For those of you who like to look at things from both sides, you'll likely enjoy the latest book by Singaporean former diplomat Kishore Mahbubani.
The big question: "Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy" (Public Affairs, March 2020) starts with a question no U.S. politician dares address publicly: "What strategic changes will America have to make when it no longer is the world's dominant economic power?"
Key takeaways: Mahbubani examines both China's and America's biggest strategic mistakes.
Flashback: I asked Mahbubani what he thought the Obama administration's biggest mistake was.