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• Europe Moves Forward on China Textile Agreement; Halts Plans to Lift Arms Embargo
• Polls Show Canadians and Americans Increasingly Worry about China
• Microsoft under Fire for Facilitating Censorship in China
• US Raises Concern over Israeli Weapons Sales to China, Other Countries




Europe Moves Forward on China Textile Agreement; Halts Plans to Lift Arms Embargo

6-13: On Saturday in Shanghai, Chinese and the European Union negotiators reached a consensus on the textile dispute, ending a drawn-out period of tensions and improving the bilateral relationship.

The EU has progressively increased their economic and political ties with China over the past decade. Trade between the EU and China is 74 times higher than it was thirty years ago. Total bilateral trade reached 177.3 billion US dollars last year. Increased economic ties have led many of the European powers to recognize China as a full market economy and to suggest lifting the ban on arms sales to China.

The Chinese have used their recent progress with the EU as a platform to criticize the United States. Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi disparaged the USís latest decision to impose a 7.5 percent ceiling on Chinese textiles this year. Yet in spite of the EUís warmer relations with China, it has halted plans to lift the 16-year-old arms embargo against China. The EU cited concerns with Chinaís human-rights record and tensions with Taiwan and the Pacific.



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Polls Show Canadians and Americans Increasingly Worry about China

6-13: A poll conducted by the Woodrow Wilson center indicates that China's growing economic and political power has begun to concern many North Americans.

Two-thirds of Americans and half of Canadians believe that "China is a serious threat" to domestic jobs. 42 percent of Canadians and 31 percent of Americans concurred with the statement that "China will soon dominate the world."

While most people in both countries see China's economic growth as an opportunity, they do not think that Beijing's record of human-rights abuses should be rewarded by pursuing expanded trade with it. Majorities in both Canada and the US said that they did not believe an increased global role for China would go on to prompt democratic reforms.



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Microsoft under Fire for Facilitating Censorship in China

6-14: The software giant, Microsoft, has begun to censor words and terms on its blog sites that are perceived as sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party. Reporters Without Borders, an organization which works to protect freedom of the press, has condemned Microsoft for obliging its pocketbook over ethics.

This measure comes after a recent law requiring all China-based Web sites to register officially by the end of the month or face penalties. Only officially approved blog sites will be allowed. Microsoft's new MSN Spaces is designed to give users an online outlet for self expression, but now, if a user tries to post a message that includes words such as "democracy," "freedom," or "human rights," an automatic message pops up warning the person not to use prohibited language.

Microsoft is not the first web company to censor on behalf of Chinese authorities. Internet giants Yahoo and Google have also taken measures to appease the Chinese government. Foreign companies in China say they have no alternative and must work within the system.



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US Raises Concern over Israeli Weapons Sales to China, Other Countries

6-13: US military ties with Israel have recently been disrupted by growing concerns over Israeli arms sales to China. It was only recently discovered that the US Department of Defense has held sanctions against Israel for the past three months. The US believes that Israel lied about its exporting to China of Harpy Killer Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles. Israel told the US that it planned to refurbish the drones when it was actually exporting them to China.

At stake for Israel is the continued influx of US weapons high technology. Currently, the US has suspended the collaboration with the Israeli military on the Joint Strike Fighter project, some night vision technologies, and other high-tech equipment.

The US has also demanded that Israel stop arms sales to other countries, including India and Singapore, but Israel has protested these demands, arguing that they do not stem from US security concerns but instead a US desire to avoid competition in its arms exports.



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