Chinese authorities see U.S. consulates as “hostile forces” that conduct “infiltration and sabotage” activities on Chinese soil and have ordered officials to monitor key U.S. diplomats, according to a leaked document obtained by The Epoch Times. At a time when bilateral relations hit a historical low, the document from Leizhou city of China’s southeastern Guangdong Province offers a rare glimpse into how the Chinese regime deals with American diplomats. In a four-page “work plan” dated April 2018, the Leizhou Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau described the “U.S. and other Western consulates in China” as key targets that could threaten the region’s political and social stability. All departments and units within the bureau must work to counter such influences, by effectively “blocking [the consulates] from establishing connections with key [Chinese]…
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern‘s delivered the biggest election victory for her centre-left Labour Party in half a century on Saturday as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to COVID-19.
The mandate means Ardern, 40, could form the first single-party government in decades and will face the challenge of delivering on the progressive transformation she promised but failed to deliver in her first term, where Labour shared power with a nationalist party.
“This is a historic shift,” said political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington, describing the vote as one of the biggest swings in New Zealand’s electoral history in 80 years.
Ardern, 40, promised supporters she would build an economy that works for everyone, create jobs, train people, protect the environment and address climate challenges and social inequalities.
“We are living in an increasingly polarised world,” she said. “A place where more and more have lost the ability to see one another’s point of view. I hope that with this election, New Zealand has shown that this is not who we are.”
Opposition National Party leader Judith Collins said she congratulated the prime minister for an “outstanding result”.
Labour had 49.0% of the votes, far ahead of National at 27%, the Electoral Commission said, with 95% of ballots counted.
Ardern said she would wait until the final result to say if her government would include smaller groups like the Green Party, a former coalition partner that secured a bigger 8% mandate.
National leaders were decimated in their strongholds by young Labour candidates who appealed to voters with progressive, democratic messages, and highlighted the party’s success in beating coronavirus.
“The last seven months of this government, all of the issues around their past promises have been put aside because of COVID-19. It’s that simple,” said Deputy National leader Gerry Brownlee who lost his long-held seat.
Despite the election’s tilt to the left, Ardern “is likely to continue to chart a centrist course, largely aiming to implement incremental change that she hopes will outlast a future change in government,” because she owes her victory to centre-right voters who previously supported National, said Geoffrey Miller, analyst at political website Democracy Project.
‘BE STRONG, BE KIND’
The prime minister won global acclaim for her handling of a mass shooting last year by a white supremacist in Christchurch, with her inclusive “be strong, be kind” mantra and swift action to ban guns.
She burnished that reputation this year with a “go hard, go early” approach to the new coronavirus, which has eliminated locally spread COVID-19 in the nation.
While known internationally for promoting progressive causes such as woman’s rights and social justice, at home Ardern faced criticism that her government failed on a promise to be transformational.
Life is back to normal in New Zealand, but its borders are still shut, its tourism sector is bleeding and economists predict a lasting recession after the harsh lockdowns.
The economy shrank at an 12.2% annual clip in the second quarter, its steepest drop since the Great Depression. Debt is forecast to rise to 56% of gross domestic product from less than 20% before the pandemic.
New Zealanders also voted on Saturday in referendums to legalise euthanasia and recreational marijuana, with results to be announced on Oct. 30. The latter vote could make New Zealand only the third country in the world to allow the adult use and sale of cannabis nationwide, after Uruguay and Canada.
Reporting by Praveen Menon; Additional reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by William Mallard and Raju Gopalakrishnan
Focus News: New Zealand’s Ardern Wins ‘Historic’ Re-election
While the COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging the world, a series of tuberculosis (TB) outbreaks at a major Chinese university was revealed via social media posts and local media reports. The Epoch Times has also interviewed a few students and obtained internal government documents that indicate local authorities attempted to cover up the TB epidemic. Tuberculosis is a respiratory infectious disease that usually causes lung infection. Those with latent TB infection do not have symptoms. Without proper treatment in time, 10 percent of patients with latent infection will progress to active TB, with a fatality rate of 50 percent, according to the World Health Organization. Jiangsu Normal University Conceals TB Cases Jiangsu Normal University issued a notice on the evening of Oct. 14, stating that from Oct. 10 to 11,…