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Beijing says US should 'abandon biased views' of China
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 19, 2017

China mobile users tap phones to 'applaud' president's speech
Beijing (AFP) Oct 19, 2017 - Missed out on the orchestrated applause at China's Communist Party Congress? Cheer up: this being China, you can join the praise through your mobile phone.

China's ubiquitous WeChat platform has released a game allowing the country's hundreds of millions of smartphone users to retroactively applaud President Xi Jinping's more than three-hour opening speech -- by tapping their phone screens.

As usual with highly-choreographed Communist spectacles, Xi's speech Wednesday outlining party priorities was punctuated by bursts of applause in which more than 2,300 party delegates at Beijing's Great Hall of the People seemed to start and stop clapping in eerily precise unison.

In the online game, called "Clap for Xi Jinping: A Great Speech", short video clips of various passages from Xi's address are shown.

After the roughly 10-second clips are finished, players tap on their phones along with the assembled delegates while an image of two applauding hands appears on screen.

Players compete to see how many times they can "clap" within the allotted period of 19 seconds -- chosen apparently in honour of the Congress, the 19th in party history.

Nearly 1 billion individual taps had been logged by the game as of early Thursday afternoon.

China's masses of smartphone users use them for everything from messaging to online shopping and paying for restaurant bills and taxis. WeChat itself claims nearly 1 billion users.

The game was developed by Tencent, China's leading gaming and social media company, which operates WeChat.

Tencent and other leading Chinese internet firms are known to make gestures to stay in the good graces of Communist authorities to ensure their continued success.

Tencent in July began limiting daily playing times on its smartphone smash hit "King of Glory" amid official complaints that Chinese youths were becoming addicted to the game.

China said Thursday the United States should "abandon its biased views" towards the country, as it hit back at cutting remarks made by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Ahead of his visit to India next week, President Donald Trump's top diplomat stated the US preference to work with New Delhi over Beijing during the next century to promote a "free and open" Asia-Pacific region led by prosperous democracies.

The speech was perceived as a warning to the world's second largest economy that Washington will build regional alliances to counter Beijing's ever-growing power.

Tillerson also took the opportunity to compare China with its giant neighbour and criticised Beijing for its "provocative actions" in the South China Sea.

"China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international, rules-based order," the US diplomat said.

Beijing responded Thursday by saying that America was biased.

"We hope the US side can look at China's development and role in the international community in an objective way, and abandon its biased views of China," foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing.

"Based on the purposes and principles of the UN charter, we will firmly uphold multilateralism, yet we will also firmly safeguard our own rights and interests."

Tillerson's comments were seen as particularly provocative as they came the same day that China's ruling Communist Party opened its 19th National Congress -- a twice-a-decade meeting of party delegates expected to give President Xi Jinping a second five-year term and consolidate his already formidable power.

They also followed a months-long military standoff between China and India in a disputed Himalayan border area in the summer.

Tillerson did not directly address the stand-off but vowed that Washington "won't shrink from China's challenges to the rules-based order, or where China subverts the sovereignty of neighbouring countries".

Trump is due to visit Beijing next month.

China's Jiang rises from the 'dead' for Communist meeting
Beijing (AFP) Oct 18, 2017
Rumoured to have died a few months ago, 91-year-old former Chinese president Jiang Zemin roused social media users Wednesday by taking a prominent place at the ruling Communist Party's leadership Congress. Proving that reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated, the former leader sat next to President Xi Jinping and stood for the national anthem as the twice-a-decade congress opened on n ... read more

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