A group of 143 former diplomats and scholars from 19 countries have penned an open letter to Xi Jinping, China's president, demanding Beijing to "immediately release" two Canadians detained in China. Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a prominent consultant on North Korean business issues, have been held for six weeks in Beijing. In their respective roles, the two frequently met with Chinese officials, researchers and scholars, the letter noted. The "detentions send a message that this kind of constructive work is unwelcome and even risky in China," the letter said. "That will lead to less dialogue and greater distrust, and undermine efforts to manage disagreements...
The group, including former U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke, ex-Hong Kong Governor Christopher Patten and five former Canadian ambassadors to China, released an open letter to the Chinese leader Tuesday urging the two men's freedom. The letter said that Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave to work with the International Crisis Group in Hong Kong, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur who helped organize tourist trips to North Korea, had advocated exchanges that help build ties around the globe.
Xi told a "seminar" of top provincial leaders and ministers in Beijing on Monday that the Communist Party needed greater efforts "to prevent and resolve major risks," the official Xinhua News Agency said. "The party is facing long-term and complex tests in terms of maintaining long-term rule, reform and opening-up, a market-driven economy, and within the external environment," Xi said, according to Xinhua.
China's economy grew at its slowest pace in almost three decades in 2018, losing more steam in the last quarter as it battles a massive debt pile and a US trade war, official data showed Monday. The 6.6 percent growth comes in above the official target of around 6.5 percent and matches a forecast by analysts polled by AFP, but is down from the 6.8 percent chalked up in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
BEIJING (AP) - China's economic growth fell to a three-decade low in 2018 as business activity lagged amid a tariff war with Washington.