We cover a marathon call between Presidents Biden and Xi Jinping of China, and fears of a recession in the United States
A tense call between the leaders of the United States and China
President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by phone for two hours and 17 minutes – their first direct conversation in four months in which relations between their countries soured.
China and the United States are at odds over Russia’s war in Ukraine, tariffs and aggressive Chinese action in the Asia-Pacific region. The future of Taiwan, a self-governing island China covets and which Biden has said he will vigorously defend, has become a particularly contentious issue, especially as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly plans to stand. to return.
China’s Foreign Ministry said the call was productive, but issued a stern warning against what it saw as US provocations, without directly mentioning Ms Pelosi.
“Playing with fire will set you on fire,” the ministry statement read.
Analysis: Some U.S. officials believe Xi is taking a tougher line against the U.S. in order to distract the Chinese from domestic issues, “a tried-and-true technique from leaders around the world,” writes our colleague Peter Baker.
Gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, fell 0.2% in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said, after contracting 0.4% in the first three months of the year. The level of decline in GDP so far in 2022 means that, by a common but unofficial definition, the US economy has entered a recession, just two years after emerging from the last one.
A test for Australia’s law against foreign interference
An Australian judge has ruled that a Chinese-Australian man accused of plotting an act of foreign interference will stand trial, providing the first judicial test of a sweeping law that is fueling overbreadth concerns.
The man, Di Sanh Duong, was charged in 2020 after raising money for a Melbourne hospital, which authorities say was used to cultivate a relationship with a federal minister to influence policy at the advantage of China. Under the Foreign Influence Act – enacted in 2018 amid concerns over Chinese influence – he could face a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The evidence against Duong is largely circumstantial. His lawyers argue that the prosecution is relying on weak evidence to draw conclusions about future matters and that it “strains every nerve of the criminal law”. They said the $26,000 donation was just one way to fight anti-Chinese racism.
But the judge agreed with Australian authorities, allowing the prosecution to proceed without evidence that Duong planned to commit an act of interference.
Legal view: Sarah Kendall, a law researcher at the University of Queensland, said the case reflected the broad reach of the law. According to her, conduct that might be harmless in itself could be considered a crime if the police could prove that behind the conduct lay the requisite intent to prepare for foreign interference.
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The Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, took a different approach: they cast Colm Feore, who is not disabled, to play a Richard who has a deformed spine. And in New York, The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park went in another direction, featuring Danai Gurira, a black woman who doesn’t have a disability.
Their varied approaches come at a time when an intense reshaping of cultural norms around identity, representation, diversity, opportunity, imagination and artistic license has led to heated debates about the cast.
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