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The World This Week
Hundred Years of Communist Party of China 

  GP Team

The World This Week #126, Vol. 3, No. 27

Mallika Devi & Harini Madhusudan

China: CPC celebrates 100th founding anniversary 
What happened?
On 1 July, the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrated its hundredth founding anniversary. President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at Beijing's Tiananmen Square and highlighted China's first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects was achieved. China is now marching towards its second centenary goal of building the country into a modern socialist state in all respects. Under the CPC leadership, the second centenary goal will be achieved, and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation will be realized. 

In order to continue on the path of development, Xi announced that the leadership of the party must be respected and enhanced. The party must be trusted uninhibitedly, and the people must be aligned with the party's leadership. He opinionated that, under the leadership of the Party, the Chinese nation had stood up from the humiliation and became prosperous and is now on the path of becoming stronger.

President Xi also announced that China is seeking a new type of international relations wherein China wants to share its developmental achievements with other countries through the Belt and Road Initiative. As a strong nation, the Chinese citizens must have a great sense of pride and confidence in their identity. He issued a warning against foreign states and cautioned them against bullying, oppressing, or subjugating China. 

What is the background?
First, the founding of the CPC. On 23 July 1921, 13 delegates, including Mao Tse Tung were scheduled to meet in a small room in Shanghai where the first session of the CPC National Congress was to be held. Fearing a police raid, the venue was later moved to a boat on Lake Nanhu in Jiaxing County, Zhejiang Province. It was in this meeting that CPC was formulated. In 1941, Chairman Mao was in Yan'an when the CPC marked twenty years of the party. Chairman Mao could only remember that it took place in July, and thus 1 July has since been celebrated as the foundation date of the party.

Second, the evolution of the CPC. According to the speech delivered by Xi Jinping, socialism with Chinese characteristics is the path to achieving national rejuvenation. The 180-year-old modern history of China, 100-year history of the CPC and 70 years of modern China indicates that the party is the lifeline of the Chinese nation. Xi reiterated that it was solely through the efforts of the CPC that the Chinese nation was able to achieve its independence and liberation for its people by overcoming imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism. China's achievements in the past 100 years are attributed to the Chinese communists and is the basis for the CPC's reforms that helped transform China into the world's second-largest economy. 

Third, the CPC's future plans. President Xi Jinping further declared in the speech that China would not bow down to others who believed that they have the right to patronize the communist state. While referring to the military, Xi expressed that a strong country needs a strong military that will preserve its national dignity and maintain peace in the region. The aim is to create an army that will attain world-class standards and enhance its capacity. These acquired qualities would act as a guarantee in safeguarding Chinese sovereignty, security and back development in the country. 

Fourth, celebrations amidst hostility. The majestic celebrations took place amid growing global hostility towards China over the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, China's assertive behaviour at the border with India in the Himalayas, allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang, and the closing of Hong Kong's leading pro-democracy newspaper-Apple Daily. 

What does it mean?
The Communist Party of China remains strong as ever and is here to stay. The CPC will continue its authoritarianism with no near possibility of adopting a liberal stance. Authoritarian capitalism would remain the chosen path for the Chinese economy.

Preserving its virtues and values, China will continue to disregard its criticism from the international community. These actions are justified in China's eyes and are deemed to be a necessary phase in becoming a stronger and greater economic power in the global arena. 

Backgrounder: Communist Party of China

Quick Factsheet
Founding Date: 1 July 1921
Headquarters: Zhongnanhai, Xicheng District, Beijing
First National Congress: 23 July 1921
Abbreviations: Official, CPC (Communist Party of China); Common, CCP (Communist China Party)
Founders: Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao… (and others)
General Secretary: Xi Jinping
Membership: 95,148,000
National Affiliation: United Front
International Affiliation: International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties.
Slogan: "Serve the People."
Labour Wing: All-China Federation of Trade Unions
Armed Wing: People's Liberation Army, People's Armed Police
Official Website:

On 1 July 2021, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at Tiananmen Square, marking the centenary of the ruling Communist Party. The celebrations saw cannon salutes, patriotic songs played, and the fly-pasts of military jets. With an audience of 70,000 people, President Xi delivered his speech that was carefully scripted to send a stern message to his citizens as well as the global audience watching China, but did not explicitly cite any country/region. The centenary celebrations come at a time when China is at loggerheads with the US and the West, criticisms of Human Rights abuses, its security and legal crackdown in Hong Kong, and the increasing tensions with Taiwan. Incidentally, Hong Kong marks its handover anniversary on the same day. 

China Communist Party's Centenary celebrations were about projecting the strength and communicating the narrative of the successes of the party in the country's history. According to the state media, there were 95.148 million members of the party, of which 13 per cent were aged 30 or younger. Dr Yu Jie, in an article with Chatham House, describes the irony of the location of the house in Shanghai where the party was born, which is now said to be surrounded by designer boutiques, and chic wine bars in the town. President Xi, on taking office in 2012, outlined two centennial goals to define the future of the party. The first was to double China's 2010 per capita GDP to dollar 10,000 by the centenary celebration of the party's formation in 2021. The second is to have China grow as a "fully developed, rich, and powerful" nation. (Evelyn Chen, "Xi at Communist Party anniversary: China won't accept 'sanctimonious preaching' from others," 1 July 2021, CNBC) (Dr Yu Jie, "China's Communist Century: An ongoing balancing act," 4 June 2021, Chatham House) (Communist Party Centenary: key points from Xi Jinping's Tiananmen address, SCMP, 1 July 2021)

Major Milestones
1921: Establishment of the Communist Party of China (CPC) 
With the objective demand to develop a modern Chinese society and take forward the revolution, the Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded with a combination of the Marxist theory and the workers' movement in China. By adopting a revolutionary program against Imperialism and Feudalism, it took up the method of relying on broad masses and pointed out the target struggle for the Chinese people. By August 1921, the CPC had set up the Secretariat of the Chinese Labour Organisation in Shanghai, through which the Party led its worker movements. (Eleanor Albert, Lindsay Maizland, Beina Xu, "Backgrounder: the Chinese Communist Party," CFR)

1925: The Great Revolution
Owing to the leadership of the CPC and the Kuomintang-Communist (KMT), in 1925, the 30 May movement, also known as the great revolution, marked the beginning of a nationwide revolution and laid the foundation for the war against the northern warlords. Though the movement rapidly grew and shook the imperialist and feudal forces, a big bourgeoisie group of people betrayed the movement at a crucial point of the struggle, leading to its failure. Following the failure in 1927, the new KMT warlords began their rule in China. 

The CPC then held the banner of revolution independently and adopting agrarian revolution with armed struggle. During this time, the communists moved their focus of the Party's work from the city to the countryside, represented by Mao Zedong, establishing base areas and mobilizing masses of peasants. People in these base areas overthrew landlords and established revolutionary armed forces and established workers' and peasants' governments, making these base areas scenes of vigorous revolutionary activity. 

1931: Armed Resistance against Japanese invasion
The CPC held armed resistance against Japan in 1931 when the latter attempted to turn China into its colony. The party called upon the whole country to fight the Japanese, and as the revolution was gaining momentum, Wang Ming pursued 'left' dogmatism, bringing another serious loss to the party, forcing the red army to undertake the Long March. By 1934, the KMT under Chiang Kai-shek had taken control over large parts of China but was still clashing with the guerrilla forces of the CPC, after which the outmatched Party forces were forced to retreat from the southern base to northern China. Along the way, the old leadership of the CPC was ousted. 

The Long March is pivotal in the history of the CPC because it created the grounds for Mao to grow into the undisputed leader of the Party. Mao guided the remaining troops across vast regions while they were constantly under attack by the Nationalist Army. During the march, they convened a meeting in Zunyi at which major corrections to the party's 'left' ideology was made and established the Marxist position represented by Mao as the leading vision. By the end of the Long March, 7,000 people reached safely in the city of Yan 'an, out of 100,000 soldiers and non-combatants. The party rebuilt itself from Yan' an. Meantime, the Party adopted the policy of establishing a united national front against Japan, which played an important role in paving the way for the nationwide War of Resistance Against Japan, with the cooperation of the KMT. An eight-year War of Resistance Against Japan followed with the CPC at the fore of the struggle for national liberation. Shortly before the victory of this war, the party convened its Seventh National Congress with a vision to defeat aggressors and build a new China. 

1937: Sino-Japanese War
In 1937, the forces of Mao and Chiang had put their clashes on hold to fight the Sino-Japanese War, but the invasion weakened the KMTs plans against the Communists, and with Tokyo's defeat in 1945, new challenges emerged. Mao's Communist forces drew advantage from the corruption and military incompetence of the Nationalist Government and steadily overcame the opposition to gain popular support with their promise of the land to the large peasant class in China. A civil war followed where Chiang and his remaining forces fled to Taiwan, with the CPC claiming the island of Taiwan as their territory. 

1949: The creation of the People's Republic of China
On 1 October 1949, Mao is said to have stood on top of Tiananmen, "the Gate of Heavenly Peace" in Beijing and announced the creation of the People's Republic of China. 
This collided with the post-World War II boom, which many countries faced during the years. Similarly, Mao prioritized economic growth with a plan to jump-start China from an agrarian economy into an industrial powerhouse. The execution of this plan involved making farmers leave their fields and engage in making steel while also forcing others into unproductive land communes which were aligned with the Communist ideology. This plan proved to be disastrous and caused the food production to plunge, following which a great famine swept the country leading to the deaths of an estimated 30 million people. The official history blames the failure of the "Great Leap Forward" on natural calamities. However, the failure weakened Mao's grip on power. 

To reclaim control, Mao launched a campaign to ensure total loyalty within the party. He claimed that there were groups who opposed the communist ideology that had infiltered the party and needed to be cleansed. Mao called for a removal of the "counterrevolutionaries" and "rightists." This call quickly spiralled out of control, and mobs of students called the red guards began to attack anyone they believed to be harbouring bourgeois ideals or imperialist habits. The situation saw students across the country turn against their teachers while accusing them of being capitalists or traitors. Popularly called the Cultural Revolution, saw the mobs attack anyone who fell foul of them and were forced to publicly confess while the others were locked in makeshift camps, the situation escalated to a point where the different groups of Red Guards began to fight each other using weapons. The Cultural Revolution ended with the death of Mao in 1976, a catastrophe that lead to the death of a lot of people. In 1981, the CPC passed a resolution saying the revolution was a severe setback since the founding of the nation. 

1979: Policy of Reform and Opening Up 
The policy of Reform and Opening-up in 1979 set the course for China's economic growth. It stands as one of the milestones that carved China's path to the second-largest economy. Hua Guofeng, Mao's second-in-command, took power as the Chairman and was then outranked by Deng Xiaoping. Deng initiated the Reform and Opening-up policy, as an experimental approach that maintains the one-party political system but loosens the government controls on the personal freedoms and certain aspects of the economy, moving China from a strictly planned economy closer to capitalism. 

1989: Tiananmen Square 
Economic freedom worsened the corruption within the party and small groups within the country began to demand greater freedoms. The liberalization made China richer, but had the CPC controlling elements of public life restricting international travel or free speech. In 1989, nationwide pro-democracy protests emerged following the death of a popular liberal Chinese Politician. The largest protests were held at Tiananmen Square and during the protests, the party is said to have had an internal debate on the response to protesters. The meeting ended on 20 May 1989, when the leadership declared martial law and two weeks later, on 4 June, the military is said to have turned its guns on the citizens. The crackdown is a massive blip in the trajectory of the CCP, which led to global condemnation, and sanctions. 

The incident from 1989 successfully silenced all calls for civil liberties and democracy, while retaining the pace of rapid economic growth. Its economic potential was restrained by the fact that it was not a member of the WTO. In the 1990s, despite its new policies, China was not seen as a market economy. In December 2001, China officially joined WTO with an agreement to further liberalize its economy. The GDP rate in 2000 was 8 per cent, and the rate almost doubled to 15 per cent by 2007, showing signs of economic boom. 

2012: Xi Jinping becomes the General Secretary of the CPC
In 2012, Xi Jinping became the general secretary of the CPC, his rise to power was seen with much optimism by the world. Xi is known to hold more titles than anyone since Mao and has become one of China's most powerful leaders, taking the party leadership back to being personality-driven. With Xi, the CPC has gained more economic power and geopolitical clout; however, the party still controls major aspects of the citizens' lives, in private businesses, politics, the military, and the new-age technology. Xi Jinping is driven by his new centennial goals for 2021 and 2049, and the priority would be to ensure the strength of the party could sustain for several decades.  ("Milestones in the History of US-China Relations," US Office of the Historian) (Ben Westcott, "100 years of the Chinese Communist Party," 1 July 2021, CNN) (Chun Han Wong, Keith Zhai, "China repackages its history in support of Xi's National Vision," The Wall Street Journal, 15 June 2021) (Brief History of the Communist Party of China, China Daily) 

The party and its Leaders
The leader of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party is seen as the highest-ranking official and the head of the CPC. Initially, the position was titled Secretary of the Central Bureau. Further, the position of the Chairman of the party was established at the eighth National Congress in 1945 and abolished by the twelfth National Congress in 1982 and was replaced by the role of General Secretary. In the 1980s, the CPC leadership desired to prevent a single leader from rising above the party like Mao had, hence the post of the Chairman was abolished, and the functions of this role were transferred to the revived post of General Secretary. In August 2020, it was reported that the CPC was setting the stage for Xi Jinping to become party chairman and hold power beyond his second term. Starting with Chen Duxiu, there have been eleven leaders to lead the CPC. Chen Duxiu was followed by Xiang Zhongfa, Bo Gu, Zhang Wentian, as the Secretary of the Central Bureau. The Chairmen between 1945 and 1982, were, Mao Zedong, Hua Guofeng, and Hu Yaobang. Following this, Zhao Ziyang, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping have served as General Secretary. 
Chen Duxiu was known as a revolutionary socialist, author, philosopher, and educator. He is one of the co-founders of the CPC and served as the party’s first Secretary between 1921 and 1927. He was the leading force that overthrew the Qing dynasty in the Xinhai Revolution, and the May Fourth Movement. He is said to have had an ideological clash with Mao in 1925 regarding the focus of the revolution. While Chen believed that the struggle should focus on the workers, Mao advocated for the primacy of the peasants. When the collaboration with the KMT fell apart, the Party blamed Chen, removed him from all positions, and expelled him from the party. 
Xiang Zhongfa was elected as a member of the Central Committee when the CPC headquarters moved to Wuhan, for his contributions in mobilizing workers for strikes. His popularity grew within the party and became known for his outspoken nature and his oratory skills. He was part of a delegation that was sent to the Soviet Union for the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution, where he gave talks on Soviet radio. His experience in understanding the workers’ movements in China and played a prominent role in handling the party affairs in Eastern China. In the Sixth National Congress of the CPC, he was appointed the Chairman. At the Congress, he is said to have attacked the leftism of Qu Qiubai and the rightism of Zhang Guotao and claimed himself to be the only orthodox representative of the Chinese Revolution. Xiang moved to have an extravagant life and eventually became known to be the only General Secretary to defect from the CPC and be executed by the KMT. 
Bo Gu was a senior leader in the CPC and a member of the 28 Bolsheviks. He joined the party after having been a part of the May 30th Movement. Bo Gu was promoted to the General Secretary of the party when one of the members had to leave for a medical emergency. Bo Gu was part of the military command team that launched a strategic diversion when the Red Army was suffering from Chiang’s suppression against them during the Long March. After his role as the military team was replaced with a new one, his role as the Secretary was replaced and he remained a member of the Politburo. He is said to have supported a newspaper in an attempt to make it the mouthpiece of the party, and could not win favors with Mao and suffered great humiliation and criticism for leniency towards the paper.
Zhang Wentian was a high-ranking leader of the party and was also a member of the 28 Bolsheviks. He was a participant of the Long March and the First Vice Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the PRC. He also served as an ambassador to the Soviet Union. During the Cultural Revolution, he was attacked and was rehabilitated by Deng Xiaoping after Mao’s death. Zhang too was against the idea of organizing all peasants into mutual aid teams. He is also known to have extensively studied international affairs and written academic articles as a researcher on socialist economic development theories. 
Mao Zedong was the founding member of the People’s Republic of China and he ruled the Party from the establishment of the state until his death. He drove the ideology behind the party both politically and militarily, and his Marxist-Leninist theories came to be known as Maoism. He has played a major role in the milestone events of Chinese history and is a controversial yet popular figure of world history. His rule is seen as an autocratic and totalitarian regime and he was directly responsible for mass repression, destruction of religious and cultural sites and artifacts. He is credited with transforming China from a semi-colony to a sovereign state while increasing life expectancy and literacy.
Hua Guofeng was the designated successor of Mao and held the top offices and the military after the deaths of Mao and Zhou Enlai. He was however gradually forced out of power by a coalition of party leaders and subsequently retreated from the political limelight. He is known for reversing some of the Cultural Revolution-era policies, like the constant ideological campaigns but was devoted to a centrally planned economy and the continuation of the Maoist line. After his removal, he continued to promote the correctness of Maoist principles. 
Hu Yaobang was a high-ranking official of the CPC, he was purged during the Cultural Revolution, recalled, and purged again by Mao. Hu was promoted to a series of high political powers with the rise of Deng. He pursued a series of economic and political reforms in the 1980s under the direction of Deng Xiaoping. His reforms made him the enemy of powerful party elders who was opposing the free-market reforms or the making of the Chinese government more transparent. When the student protests emerged in 1987, these leaders used the opportunity to blame Hu for his bourgeois liberalization and laxness. He was forced to resign as the General Secretary the same year and was allowed to retain a seat in the Politburo.  
Zhao Ziyang was the third premier of the PRC and was in charge of the political reforms in China. He lost his power in connection with the reformative neo authoritarianism and his support of the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. He was critical of Maoist policies and has played an important role in implementing free-market reforms. He received support from Deng Xiaoping after the Cultural Revolution and is an advocate of the privatization of state-owned enterprises and the separation of the party and the state. He also sought measures to streamline bureaucracy and fight corruption in his later years in the party.  His support for the 1989 movement led to his political purge and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. 
Jiang Zemin is a retired politician who served as General Secretary to the party and eventually went on to fill many roles. He came to power as an unexpected compromise candidate after the Tiananmen incident. This was around the time the involvement of the “Eight Elders” in politics had steadily declined, Jiang became the ‘paramount leader’ by consolidating his hold on the position. Under his leadership, China experienced substantial economic growth and market reforms. It saw the return of Hong Kong from the UK and Macau from Portugal and also saw China improve relations with the outside world. He is however noted for his contributions to the party doctrine known as “three represents,” and faced criticism over human rights abuses within the country. 
Hu Jintao was the ‘paramount leader’ between 2004 and 2012, after having participated in the party for the most part of his career. During his term, he reintroduced state control in the sectors of the economy that were relaxed previously and was known to be conservative with political reforms. Hu has presided over a decade of China’s consistent economic growth, with an aim to improve socio-economic equality domestically. However, his leadership is also known for its crackdown on social disturbances, ethnic minority protests, and dissent figures, which led to the unrest in Tibet, the passing of the Anti-Secession law. Internationally, he advocated for a corporate approach to diplomacy, pursuing soft power in international relations and the ‘peaceful development of China.’ He won praise for his consensus-based leadership and also for voluntary retirement. 
Xi Jinping currently heads the four most important political and state offices, as the general secretary of the Communist Party, general secretary of the Central Committee, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and President of the PRC. Xi is the son of a former CPC member who had been purged during the Cultural Revolution. He rose into the ranks within the party after having studied chemical engineering. He is known for his campaign against anti-corruption that led to the downfall of many prominent party officials. Xi has enacted or promoted a more assertive foreign policy and has sought to expand the economic and industrial influence through the grand BRI. Xi’s term has seen an increase in mass surveillance, increase in censorship, and return of personality politics. Many academic observers see his leadership as authoritarian, specifically after the removal of term limits for leadership under his tenure. He is the fifth generation of leadership in the PRC and has significantly centralized institutional power by holding control over security, economy military, as well as the internet. 
(Bruce J Dickson, “The Party and the People: Chinese Politics in the 21st Century”, Boston Review, 25 May 2021) (Top CPC Leadership)

Also, in the news …
By Sukanya Bali and Avishka Ashok

East and Southeast Asia This Week 
China: Didi says it  stores user data within the country; Beijing to investigate cybersecurity issue
On 3 July, Beijing's Didi Global Inc Vice President Li Min said the company would sue any social media users who said the company transferred its user data during the recent initial public offering (IPO)process. This came soon after the company started trading on the New York Stock Exchange. China's cyberspace agency began an investigation into Didi, to protect national security and the public interest. Li said: "Like many overseas-listed Chinese companies, Didi stores all domestic user data at servers in China, it is absolutely not possible to pass data to the United States." Reuters reported, Didi also said, the company plans to "conduct a comprehensive examination of cybersecurity risks and would cooperate fully with the relevant government authority. It also said apart from the suspension of new user registrations in China, it was operating normally."
Hong Kong: Court denies bail for the pro-democracy activist
On 2 July, the Hong Kong court denied bail for a pro-democracy activist Chow Hang-tung, who was re-arrested on the eve of the anniversary of the former British colony's handover and Chinese Communist Party's centenary. She was arrested on charges related to "incitement to knowingly" take part in an unauthorized assembly. Magistrate Veronica Heung denied her bail and the case was adjourned until 30 July.
North Korea: The US shortlists Pyongyang in human trafficking report
On 2 July, the US published the "Trafficking in Persons Report" which shortlisted North Korea as one of 11 governments involved in human trafficking. The other eleven governments include Afghanistan, Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Russia, South Sudan, Syria and Turkmenistan. The report highlighted, 11 governments with "policy or pattern of human trafficking, trafficking in government-funded programs, forced labor in government-affiliated medical services or other sectors, sexual slavery in government camps, or the employment or recruitment of child soldiers." Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: "We need to work together, share information, hold each other accountable. That's how we'll create a world where no one is exploited by trafficking, and everyone is able to live in safety and in dignity."
Australia: Human Rights Watch says Chinese students create self-censorship
On 30 June, Human Rights Watch said, a large number of Chinese students at the Australian universities have created an environment for self-censorship in order to avoid criticism of Beijing and live in fear of harassment. In response to the report, Australian Universities said that the universities are committed to students' academic freedom, and urged "any student or staff member to go straight to their university if they are being coerced or intimidated." Australia's Education Minister said it is a "deeply concerning issue." He further said, "Any interference on our campuses by foreign entities cannot be tolerated." The Chinese embassy in Canberra said: "Human Rights Watch has decayed into a political tool for the West to attack and smear developing countries. It is always biased on China." The report highlighted, "more than half of students who experienced intimidation did not report it to their universities."
South Asia This Week
India: Requests Maldivian govt. action on media attacks
On 1 July, India requested the Maldivian government to take action on people behind social media posts attacking its resident diplomats. The High Commission of India in a letter urged the Maldivian Foreign Ministry to ensure the security of the mission and its officials. The High Commission highlighted that media attacks were, "motivated, malicious and increasingly personal" and launched to create 'hatred' between countries.  In May, the Indian cabinet's announcement of setting up a second mission in the Maldives prompted an "#Indiaout" campaign in the country's social media.
Pakistan: Eighth Security dialogue with Japan
On 30 June, Pakistan and Japan in the eighth round of security dialogue assured their commitment to enhancing bilateral ties and mutual cooperation. The dialogue focused on two agendas, politico-military and military-military talks. According to the press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two sides exchanged their views on security policies, regional and global issues. Both nations further agreed on expanding defense and security cooperation.
Pakistan: Imran Khan assures support for Chinese government's policy in Xinjiang
On 2 July, Prime Minister Imran Khan assured their support to the Chinese government regarding its policies in Xinjiang province. He also praised Beijing's one-party system as compared with the electoral democracy. Khan said: "Our interaction with Chinese officials, that version of what is happening in Xinjiang is completely different to the version of what we hear from the Western media and the Western governments." He also said, "Because we have our very strong relationship with China, and because we have a relationship based on trust, so we actually accept the Chinese version. What they say about their programmes in Xinjiang, we accept it."
Afghanistan: Security Advisor meets Russian counterpart in Moscow
On 2 July, Afghanistan's National Security Advisor held talks with the Secretary of the Security Council of Russian Federation in Moscow. Russian Security Council reported: "Nikolai Patrushev and Hamdullah Mohib focused on the security situation in Afghanistan in light of the withdrawal of Western military contingent and the escalation of the military and political situation in the north of the Islamic Republic of Iran." ANI reported, both sides agreed for an urgent need for "ceasefire and negotiations to end the conflict and ensure independent, sovereign and representative Afghanistan."
Afghanistan: Biden says military withdrawal is "on track"
On 3 July, US President Joe Biden said the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is "on track". He said: "We're on track exactly as we expected to be. But we just wanted to make sure there was enough running room. We wouldn't be able to do it all until September. There will still be some forces left but it is a rational drawdown with our allies. So, there's nothing unusual about it." This statement came soon after the US military handed over Bagram Airfield to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
Central Asia, Middle East and Africa This Week
Kyrgyzstan: President meets Tajik counterpart to discuss bilateral relations
On 29 June, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to discuss the violent clashes that occurred between the two countries in the border regions. However, the meeting did not produce any significant development in bringing an end to the conflict that broke out in the border areas. Japrov said: "It is incumbent on both parties not to allow armed clashes to happen again in future. The people of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have been brotherly nations since ancient times, and Kyrgyz and Tajiks have always maintained neighbourly and friendly ties." The two leaders signed four agreements during the meeting but none on the maintenance of peace along the borders.
Armenia: opposition party demands revoking of election results
On 2 July, the opposition alliance in Armenia demanded that the results of the recent elections be reversed. The opposition, led by former President Robert Kocharyan, lost the elections as it secured just 21.9 per cent of the total votes. International governments have supported the election results and called it a fair and competitive process. Nikol Pashinyan, the present Prime Minister, secured 53.91 per cent of the votes and avoided being replaced by Kocharyan.
Israel: Foreign Minister inaugurates embassy in the UAE
On 29 June, Israel established its first embassy in the United Arab Emirates. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Emirati Minister of Culture and Youth inaugurated the embassy together in Abu Dhabi. Yair Lapid also created history by becoming the first Israeli cabinet minister to visit the UAE. He said: "We are not going anywhere. The Middle East is our home. We are here to stay, and we call on all countries in the region to realize this. This is a historic moment. And it is a reminder that history is created by people. People, who understand history but are willing to change it. People who prefer the future to the past."
Iran: Bushehr nuclear power plant resumes operations
On 3 July, the state media in Iran reported that the Bushehr nuclear power plant had restarted its operations after a two-week-long break due to an overhaul. A spokesperson from the power plant said: "After repairs ... the Bushehr power plant is back online, and 1000 MW of electricity is injected into the country's distribution network."
Africa: Global Coalition meets to discuss the spread of the Islamic State
On 28 June, the US and Italy hosted a conference in Rome to discuss the spread of the Islamic State in Africa. At the conference organized by the Global Coalition, both countries pledged to create a task force to limit the spread of the IS from Iraq to Syria. The meeting in Rome took place a day before the seventh anniversary of IS' self-declaration of being the caliphate. The latest meeting was held due to the rising influence of the IS. Italian Foreign Minister said: "We are fearing the expansion and spread of Daesh in Africa. We know that many villages have fallen into the hands of terrorists. We're now seeing that a number of terrorist cells are proliferating in regions such as the Sahel, where obviously the main migration routes are present, the routes of those who come to Europe."
Europe and The Americas This Week
The EU: OECD proposes minimum taxation for big firms
On 1 July, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development revealed a proposal that pushed for a corporate tax rate of a minimum of 15 per cent. The US treasury referred to the proposal and said: "Today is a historic day for economic diplomacy." The proposal has the potential to produce nearly USD 150 billion in revenues." While all the G20 members agreed to the agreement, Ireland and Hungary had not accepted the proposal. The member countries have been notified of quickly passing a similar law in their countries.
Belarus: President Lukashenko suspends border with Ukraine
On 3 July, President Alexander Lukashenko reported that arms and ammunition were being smuggled into Belarus through Ukraine. He claimed that it was an attempt by external factors to overthrow him and hence, shut down the borders with Ukraine. According to the security services, a terrorist sleeper cell was working towards removing him from office and was being supported by foreign governments of Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and the US. He said: "A huge amount of weapons is coming from Ukraine to Belarus. That's why I ordered border-security forces to fully close the border with Ukraine."
Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel's last visit to the UK before elections
On 2 July, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a part of her last foreign trip before the German elections after which she will be replaced by the newly elected candidate. During the visit, the two leaders discussed an array of issues including bilateral relations and the COVID-19 pandemic. The two countries promised to meet annually to discuss issues of mutual interests and also extended a deal on frozen meat exported from the UK to Germany. Angela Merkel referred to the Brexit and said: "It is, now that Britain has left the European Union, a good opportunity to open a new chapter in our relationship. We would be very happy on the German side to work together on a friendship treaty or a cooperation treaty, which would reflect the whole breadth of relations."
Venezuela: Director of human rights group detained
On 2 July, the Venezuelan police arrested the director of a human rights group called FundaRedes and three other associated individuals. Director Javier Tarazona has been taken into custody soon after he hosted a conference on the links between the government and the illegal militant groups in the country. An employee of the human rights group said: "We demand that the integrity and life of these four people be respected, as well as the integrity and life of FundaRedes activists and volunteers. It is alarming that the Venezuelan state maintains a policy of intimidation, threat and harassment against human rights defenders."
Colombia: Protestors vandalize and topple the statue of Columbus
On 30 June, anti-government protestors toppled the statue of Christopher Columbus after whom the country is named. Multiple statues of Columbus were vandalized in the country as Colombians expressed distaste towards a ruler who signifies colonialism and oppression. The latest protests are a marker of the unrest and discontent towards the government. There is increasing participation by the indigenous communities in the country as they stand up against the deaths of more than 20 indigenous human rights defenders.
The US: Secretary of State discusses Afghanistan with Tajik and Uzbek officials
On 1 July, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting with Tajik and Uzbek officials at Washington DC. The agenda of the meeting was the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Taliban continue to take hold of numerous districts in the war-torn country. The Taliban's violent takeover of the districts has raised fears of a possible civil war in the country. As the militants occupy more territory, the governments in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are preparing for an increase in the flow of refugees in the bordering regions and a looming security threat.

About the Authors
Mallika Devi is a Ph.D. scholar at the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Delhi. Harini Madhusudan is a PhD Scholar; Sukanya Bali and Avishka Ashok are Research Associates in the School of Conflict and Security Studies at the National Institute of Advanced Studies.

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November 2022 | CWA # 838

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Tracing Europe's droughts