China boasts unity with Russia, India or Iran against the division of the G7

The leaders of China, Russia, India, Iran and other member countries or observers of the Organization for Cooperation of Shanghai (SCO) began meetings in Qingdao today aimed at giving an image of Eurasian unity, in front of the division that seems to affect the G7

This weekend coincide the summit of the seven major industrialized economies in Canada, rarefied by trade tensions between the US and the European Union, and that of the SCO in the eastern port of Qingdao, where Chinese President Xi Jinping wanted today give an image of unity and common objectives.

“The spirit of Shanghai is focused on exploring a common cause while we set aside our differences and seek cooperation for mutual benefit,” said the Chinese leader at the banquet prior to the summit, held at the pier of the Olympic port of Shanghai. Qingdao, home of the sailing trials in Beijing 2008.

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Xi expressed the hope that the XVII summit of the SCO in Qingdao, the first to be held with India and Pakistan as full members, mark a second start for the organization “in which we embark on a new journey.”

“We have achieved fruitful results in security, economic and trade cooperation,” which is why the SCO, seen by some observers as an analogous version to NATO in Eurasia, “has become an important force in maintaining regional security and promoting common development, “said Xi.

Today, as a preamble to the plenary of leaders held on Sunday, was led by bilateral meetings in which Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as responsible for the two governments that lead the organization, strengthened ties with the rest of Member States.

Among these meetings, Putin today held a meeting with Iranian President Hasan Rohaní, who is making his first trip abroad in China since the US announced its withdrawal from the multi-party nuclear pact with Tehran.

In contrast to the tensions between Iran and the United States, which threaten a new international isolation for the Islamic Republic, Rohaní thanked the Russian leader today for his support for his country to be admitted to the SCO as a full member.

Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia are observer countries of the organization, including China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, nations that account for almost half of the world’s population.

The SCO, founded in 2001 at the initiative of Moscow and Beijing, has managed over the last decades to coordinate regional cooperation on security issues such as the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking or cybercrime.

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Russia, a country whose return to the G7 requested this Friday by US President Donald Trump, has tried since 2014, when his confrontation with Ukraine distanced him from the EU, increase its ties with China and other countries of the former Soviet orbit, and the SCO it has become for Moscow a transmitting belt of that effort.

Despite the image of unity that China and Russia want to give this week within the SCO, the entry into the organization of India and Pakistan, traditionally opposed by Kashmir, could cause unprecedented tensions within the organization.

It could also break internal harmony the current mismatch between India and China, border conflicts that last year even led to a temporary occupation of Chinese territory by Indian troops.

Or the mistrust of New Delhi to the strategic and economic expansion plans pursued by Beijing under the slogan of the “New Silk Routes”, a program of development of infrastructure and global telecommunications led by China in which India is very reluctant to enter.

Kim concludes his visit to Beijing with a second meeting with Xi

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met again in Beijing on Wednesday to strengthen friendly relations between the two countries before Kim concluded his two-day visit to the Chinese capital. I started back to Pyongyang.

Both leaders shared a tea in the residential complex of Diaoyutai, in western Beijing, accompanied by the first ladies, the Chinese Peng Liyuan and the North Korean Ri Sol-Ju.

“We are pleased that the important consensus reached between China and North Korea is being gradually implemented, the cooperative relations between the two parties radiate a new vitality, the momentum of dialogue and the improvement of the situation on the Korean peninsula have been reinforced, “Xi said in statements collected by Xinhua.

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The Chinese president stressed that the two sides have created a new history of high-level exchanges and that the strengthened sides will benefit both countries and their peoples.

Kim, for his part, stressed that both countries “are as close as if they were family” and that they will help each other.

Before returning to meet with the Chinese leader today, the North Korean visited a park of technological innovation in agriculture belonging to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the center of railway traffic control in Beijing, accompanied by Cai Qi, member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

Kim landed on Tuesday morning in Beijing in what has been his third meeting with Xi in a hundred days, but the first to be communicated to the media before it concluded and is not celebrated wrapped in a halo of secrecy.

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The first meeting between the two took place in March also in Beijing and the second in May in the coastal Chinese city of Dalian, to exchange views on the progress of the dialogue between the two Koreas and between Pyongyang and Washington.

Neither of the two previous appointments was made public until Kim left Chinese soil, while on this occasion the Chinese state media reported the arrival of the North Korean leader shortly after landing in Beijing.

This was officially received yesterday by Xi in the Great Hall of the People, west of Tiananmen Square, to inform him of the result of the historic summit he held with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last week, and then moved to Diaoyutai, where the night has passed.

Donald Trump said he is working with Xi Jinping to save the Chinese company ZTE

The telecommunications giant, which was affected by the prohibitions and fines of the US government, had indicated that the measures endangered their subsistence

the telecommunications giant ZTE, affected by a US sanction, “so that he can resume his activities quickly”, in a sample of coordination that lowers the tone of the trade war waged between the world powers.

“Too many jobs lost in China, the Commerce Department was ordered to do it!”, Tweeted the US president in relation to ZTE, whose activity was seriously disrupted by the prohibition adopted by the Trump administration in mid-April, of all exports of US components destined to the telecommunications group, for a term of seven years.

In March 2017, the United States also fined 1,200 million dollars to ZTE for violating its ban on exporting US products to Iran and North Korea, sanctioned for their military programs and human rights violations.

These measures, considered very “unfair” by the Chinese firm, endanger their livelihood and also harm its partners, including US companies, according to the company itself.

(Reuters)

Earlier this week, and after holding bilateral meetings between senior officials, China and the United States agreed to establish a ” working mechanism to strengthen their communication ” on their trade disputes, although they acknowledged that ” there are still big differences ” between them and they have to “keep working” to stop them, according to the Xinhua news agency.

On Friday, the Pentagon announced that US military base personnel will no longer be able to purchase phones under the Chinese Huawei and ZTE brands because of the “unacceptable” security risks presented by these devices.

Life imprisonment for the most valuable piece of Chinese anti-corruption struggle

The fight against corruption in China today claimed its most renowned piece with the life sentence of Sun Zhengcai, considered until a year ago as a possible successor to President Xi Jinping.

Sun, 54, was sentenced by the Tianjin Intermediate People’s Court (northeast) for taking bribes valued at around 170 million yuan (27 million dollars, 22 million euros).

Until his fall from grace, in July of last year, Sun was the first Communist Party (CCP) secretary in the Chongqing region and had previously been Minister of Agriculture.

Due to his status as a regional leader of the Party in a key area since he was one of the youngest members of the Politburo of communist formation, Sun was unanimously considered by observers as one of the great favorites to access positions of relevance at the state level in the XIX Congress of the (CCP) last October.

The sentence handed down today also means that Sun will be deprived of his political rights for life, all his personal property has been confiscated and his illegal profits – and the profitability obtained with them – will be recovered by the State.

However, several foreign observers consider that the fall from grace of Sun has also had a political root, being a member of a rival clan of Xi Jinping.

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“Corruption, in this case, is an excuse, the real reason is political, Sun was a protégé of (former prime minister) Wen Jiabao,” so “he is not a man of Xi and it was dangerous” for the president to be a member of a younger generation of leaders, Jean-Pierre Cabestan, director of the Department of Political Science at the Baptist University of Hong Kong, told Efe.

He added that Sun’s fall “confirms that Xi’s anti-corruption campaign also targets any potential political rival and weakens other CCP factions,” which is “a clear warning to other leaders who do not follow Xi’s line.”

Cabestan considered that the speculations that placed Sun as a future aspiring president were a little exaggerated, and placed him rather as a candidate for prime minister.

The sentence against Sun could have been more serious (there is the death penalty for these crimes) but the defendant “admitted his guilt, showed repentance and stated that he would sincerely accept the judgment of the courts,” according to the authorities at the beginning of the trial. started on April 12.

They added that “Sun’s political ambition and selfish desires were exacerbated,” prompting this former rising star of Chinese politics to “break the discipline of the Party and corrupt it.”

With the fall of Sun, Xi will be able to select one of his young trusted men, such as Chen Miner, elected at the last CCP congress as a possible president’s dolphin, said this veteran expert on Chinese politics.

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The trial of Sun is part of the anti-corruption campaign initiated by Xi since his arrival in the presidency in 2013, which has resulted in punishment of more than one and a half million senior Communist Party officials, including some of the most powerful politicians and military of the past decade.

So far, the most notorious corrupt “tiger” to fall in this campaign had been the powerful former Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang, sentenced to life in prison in 2015.

Sun’s case is not the first to occur in Chongqing, an area of great economic importance, where Bo Xilai, former Minister of Commerce of China and who succeeded Sun himself as general secretary of the party in the province, was also sentenced to life in prison for corruption.

Bo’s wife, meanwhile, was sent to prison for life accused of murdering a British businessman.

The sentence to Sun was disclosed in Chinese state media, but several of them deactivated in their Internet pages the system to see the comments that were written about the case by the readers.

China bets on rental housing in its eagerness to avoid a bubble

n a further attempt to contain the price of housing and curb the housing bubble, the Chinese government will carry out a rent promotion plan that will allow the issuance of securities backed by residential rental properties.

The official Xinhua news agency reported today that the plan, jointly prepared by the Ministry of Housing and Rural-Urban Development and the China Securities Regulatory Commission, was published on Wednesday and that it will encourage companies to realize backed securitizations. for assets of rental housing.

This process consists of converting certain assets, in this case, rented homes, into marketable securities in the market, and the companies that carry it out will be asked to strengthen the supervision of said securities to contain the risks.

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Thus, the issuance of the real estate investment trust (REIT), a means of securitizing real estate assets for companies to raise funds, will be put to the test.

The country will encourage housing rental companies to make asset securitizations according to their operating conditions and financial demand.

This, explains the plan, will reduce the index of leverage of the companies and diversify the options of investment in the capital market.

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Companies must meet certain requirements to issue such securities, such as an apartment must have been built with clear property and companies must have a clean record of having complied with the laws and regulations during the last two years.

The large and medium-sized cities, the New Xiongan Area and the cities under the pilot program for the construction of rental housing on collective construction sites will be the first to obtain the green light, according to the document.

China is striving to develop the rental housing market as one of the long-term strategies to ensure the sustainable and stable development of the real estate market, along with several policies restricting home purchases.

The country’s real estate market was overheated at the beginning of last year and government authorities had to implement in 2017 a total of 270 restrictions in 110 cities in the country to control it.

China’s tax revenue increased 13.6% in the first quarter

China’s fiscal revenue grew 13.6% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, to reach 5.05 trillion yuan (806,000 million dollars, 650,000 million euros), the Ministry of Finance reported today.

During the period between January and March, revenues increased by 28% in the concept of excise taxes, 21.1% in the case of commercial value-added taxes (VAT) and 14.4% in the case of excise taxes. import.

By provenance, taxes on corporate earnings rose 11.7% and those on individual earnings rose 20.7%.

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The Ministry also reported that fiscal spending increased 10.9% year-on-year in this period to 5.1 trillion yuan (814,000 million dollars, 657,000 million euros).

According to an official of the Ministry, Lou Hong, the increase was mainly due to the strong fiscal income of the companies, since “the companies saw a better performance in the middle of a solid economy in the first three months”.

Lou expects the growth of tax revenues to moderate in the coming months, but forecasts that it will remain stable.

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Wang Xinxiang, also an official of this ministry, explained that since the beginning of the year China has injected more money into reforms for poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and education.

Thus, government spending increased 76.8% in forest protection, 58% in poverty alleviation, 47.5% in applied research, 38.3% in agriculture and 13.7% in funds from the basic pension.

The Ministry explained that “with the economy on a firm footing and tax revenues increasing”, China has reduced its fiscal deficit target to 2.6% of GDP by 2018, a decrease of 0.4 percentage points compared to 2017 and that if fulfilled would suppose the first fall since 2013.

China responds to the US with tariffs but does not want a trade war

China today responded to Trump’s protectionism with the announcement of possible tariffs worth 3,000 million dollars on imports of products from the US, a move that fuels the fear of a trade war that Beijing wants to avoid.

“China does not want a trade war, but we are not afraid of it at all, we have the confidence and capacity to face any challenge,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying stressed at a press conference in Beijing.

His appearance came a few hours after the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced the possible imposition of tariffs on 128 US products, including tariffs of 25% on recycled aluminum products and pork, and 15% on wines, nuts, fruit or steel tubes.

“They have underestimated China’s ability to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and this is the cost that the US has to pay for its reckless actions,” Hua told reporters.

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These charges, which will be applied in two stages, are the responsibility of Beijing to the tariffs of 60,000 million dollars to the import of Chinese products that Donald Trump announced yesterday, with the aim of reducing the strong trade deficit that his country has with China and punish the alleged theft of patents.

“Despite appearances, Beijing’s response has been overwhelming,” he said, adding that tariffs on products worth 3,000 million dollars are not very strong if compared to Trump’s threat to apply tariffs of 60,000. He seems to be very clever, “Alex Fusté, chief economist at Andorran bank Andbank, told Efe.

According to his forecasts, although the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has not detailed the products to which tariffs could apply, it will be directed mainly to agricultural products, “with which it could inflict great damage on US producers.”

“The decisions are always used to send signals and the signals that Beijing would be sending with a tariff response for a value of only 3,000 million dollars are essentially three: we will respond, we have more capacity to hit and we do not want an escalation of the confrontation”, adds Fusté.

At the end of 2017, China’s trade surplus with the US was 1.87 trillion yuan (288,000 million dollars, 239,000 million euros), which represented an increase of 13% compared to the previous year in the first year of the President of Trump.

In addition to demanding that China balance the balance of trade between the two countries, the US president has resorted to Article 301 of the US Foreign Trade Act of 1974 to investigate the alleged theft by China of US intellectual property and the forced transfer of technology.

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“Chinese innovation does not depend on theft,” but on the “hard work” of Chinese citizens, Hua defended himself.

The US response has sparked a widespread fear of a commercial battle and has caused major declines in international stock markets, which according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry demonstrates “the lack of confidence of the markets” in Trump’s policies and ” the concern of the international community. ”

Although he considers this reaction of the stock markets “exaggerated”, Professor Li Wei, director of the Center for Economy and Sustainable Development in China, told Efe that this may be due to the fact that Trump’s tariffs to China not only affect this Asian country.

“Imagine that tariffs are imposed in the US on the import of Xiaomi or Huawei phones, for example, its components are manufactured in Asian countries such as Japan, Korea or emerging countries, so the entire value chain will be affected and will suffer,” he pointed.

Therefore, he considers that the measure will be “unpopular” both in the US and in Asia.

Michael Kagan, manager of Clearbridge, a subsidiary of the US Legg Mason, warns that the US could go further and block Chinese investments in its territory, restrict its ability to do business and even limit the entry of Chinese citizens to US soil.

“Depending on the seriousness of this conclusion, there could be reprisals with a similar effect on the part of Beijing against US companies and imports,” he says, while warning that this response “could generate an earthquake in the markets.”

In his opinion, “a commercial war with the Asian country would hurt more American listed companies that would benefit”, such as the aeronautical, automotive, agricultural crops, semiconductors, and chemicals.

China celebrates the Kim-Trump meeting and says that both countries are going in the right direction

The Chinese government welcomed the announcement today that the leaders of the United States and North Korea, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, agreed to meet in May and noted that “the nuclear issue in Korea is moving in the right address. ”

“We welcome the positive signals given by the US and North Korea in the sense of conducting a direct dialogue,” a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, told a news conference.

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“The next step to take by all parties is to sustain this positive moment, forge synergies and work together to restore peace and stability on the Korean peninsula,” the official source added.

US President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation from the leader of North Korea to start a round of negotiations on the North Korean nuclear program in a location not yet decided, according to confirmed in the White House by the National Security Adviser of Korea from the South, Chung Eui-Yong.

The Chinese spokesman did not clarify today if China could offer to host that meeting, and merely said that his country “will continue with its positive role” in the search for a negotiated solution to the crisis.

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Geng reiterated today that the parties involved in the current moment of détente “must show political courage and determination, engaging in much needed bilateral and plurilateral contacts, making the maximum effort to return the dialogue and negotiation.”

On the eve of today’s announcement, Chinese Yuan Minister Wang Yi defended his country’s “double suspension” proposal, in which South Korea and the US should stop their military maneuvers in exchange for North Korea to stop. its nuclear tests have been key in the current detente.

China advances in its opening by appointing Yi Gang governor of the central bank

China today confirmed its desire for economic opening with the appointment of reformist Yi Gang as the new governor of its central bank, which is expected to continue on the modernizing path of its predecessor, Zhou Xiaochuan.

Despite being number two and Zhou’s right hand, Yi did not figure in the pools on who could succeed the former governor of the People’s Bank of China (central), so his appointment decided today by the plenary of the National People’s Assembly ( highest legislative body in the country) was received with surprise.

On the contrary, the elevation of Liu He, economic adviser and ally of President Xi Jinping, to the position of Deputy Prime Minister of Finance and Planning, was expected, a position of maximum responsibility that will also be decisive for the management of commercial relations with the USA and the economic opening.

“The main task (of the central bank) right now is to implement a prudent monetary policy, to promote the reform of the financial sector and its opening, and to maintain the stability of the sector,” Yi told the press shortly after his promotion became public. in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

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His pro-reformist profile and his extensive training abroad seem to point to Yi (60-year-old Pekinese) continuing on the modernizing path initiated by Zhou and encouraging the opening of finance to investment from abroad.

Yi Gang is considered a leader “with very deep international ties,” BBVA Research economist Jinyue Dong told Efe.

In his opinion, the election of Yi is a sign that China “will promote financial liberalization and liberalization, as well as connect the domestic financial sector with the world, in particular by promoting dialogue between China and the West”, while at the same time perpetuates its monetary policy.

Yi studied Economics for two years at Peking University, the Business Administration at the University of Hamline (Minnesota, USA) and Economics at the University of Illinois, where she also studied her Ph.D. specialized in the selection of statistical models.

In 1986 he began his career as a professor at the University of Indiana, a position he left in 1994 to return to China and join as a professor at Peking University.

He joined the People’s Bank of China in 1997 and, five years later, was appointed Secretary-General of its Monetary Policy Committee. From that position, he led in 2004 the reform of rural financial institutions and, in 2007, he was appointed vice governor.

From 2009 to 2016, he headed the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) and was in charge of reforming China’s foreign exchange system and diversifying its investments.

In addition, he was involved in the research and design of the reform of the Chinese social security system and is recognized for his determination to help the poorest strata of society.

He is credited with having asked the Government, already in 2002, not only to take care of the growth of the Gross Domestic Product of the country but to take into account factors such as employment, the environment and the indebtedness of the banks.

His appointment coincided today with the rise of Liu He to the level of the country’s economic vice premier.

“Liu and Yi are expected to lead the Chinese financial sector,” he told Efe Dong, who recalled that “since Xi came to power in 2012, Yi served as Liu He’s right-hand man.”

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The latter, 66, studied at Harvard University and his role in the Chinese economy has been increasing recently.

In January, he intervened as China’s representative at the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland), one year after President Xi himself, and in February he traveled to the US to analyze the economic and trade relations between both countries, at a time critical for bilateral ties.

“Possibly Liu He is the most important economic legislator in the world (…) He was granted considerable honor at the beginning of the year to be the only spokesman to intervene in one of the main Davos sessions without being a national leader,” he said. in an analysis Matthew Dobbs, manager of Asian equities of the British Schroders.

Three days before Liu’s appointment as deputy prime minister, Dobbs reflected that Liu had “no impressive office, beyond economic adviser to China’s president, Xi Jinping, who has given him an open power over the second largest economy in the world. “

“Enforced vacations” for activists who annoy the coronation of Xi

With the National People’s Assembly (ANP) also began the “forced vacation” for many Chinese activists, who have been forced to leave Beijing to avoid disturbances during this meeting in which the reform of the Constitution is finalized that will allow Xi Jinping to be president for life.

“For the dissidents, the ANP is like a purgatory,” prominent human rights defender Hu Jia, who was forced by authorities to go to Zhongshan, in the province of Canton, told Efe on the phone today. March, when the full legislative body of China has concluded.

As it has been a custom every year during the ANP, which this year will renew the leadership of the Government, some agents arrived at Hu’s home in Beijing last Friday and took him away by car. First, he was transferred to Shenzhen and, a few days later, to Zhongshan.

“Every day two policemen follow me very closely, but I imagine that there will be more agents watching,” explains the renowned activist installed in a hotel in Zhongshan, where the authorities are covering all expenses and also has some freedom to communicate with the Exterior.

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Hu is already used to these “forced trips” with which the communist regime tries to silence the dissidents during the ANP or other important meetings that attract the attention of the international community.

Especially, the ANP of this year has a special character before the controversial elimination in the Constitution of the presidential limit of two mandates that will allow Xi to continue in power for an indefinite period.

“This year’s ANP is super important because Xi is going to have his crown (…) he wants to ascend his throne and he does not want there to be noise,” Hu says.

This unusual method of silencing critical voices has been repeating itself for years. Some of them travel accompanied by police officers and are usually housed in hotels and remote resorts with all expenses paid.

“It is difficult to know the exact number of people forced to travel since the police threaten them not to speak,” Frances Eve told Chinese Human Rights Defender (CHRD) researcher Efe.

In his opinion, “it is an absurd practice since it is also a free holiday for the police that accompanies them.” The reality is that activists are deprived of their freedom in these trips, it is a form of detention.

One of the dissidents who has also been forced to leave this year, Li Wei, has reported being beaten by agents during his stay in the city of Hangzhou (east), according to CHRD, which also has evidence of the arrest of two activists, Huang Fangmei and Geng Caiwen.

“It is scandalous,” says Amnesty International (AI) researcher Patrick Poon, who uses this method to “eliminate any dissenting voice during these official meetings.”

This year, however, there is much more tension in the environment due to the constitutional reform, which has also caused an increase in control in social networks, where the comments related to the possible life presidency of Xi, the leader, have been censored. Chinese with more power since Mao Zedong.

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“China’s lawyers’ associations have issued warnings warning or reminding their members to be careful with their comments during this meeting,” says Poon.

Since the Chinese Magna Carta came into force in 1982, it has been amended four times, the last one in 2004.

It was precisely fourteen years ago that these controls began to be carried out on the activists during the ANP for fear of their criticisms, according to Hu.

“The worst year was in 2006. They kidnapped me for 41 days and tortured me, and for thirty days I went on a hunger strike,” Hu recalls.