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China launches counter-mechanism to US sanctions list


China said Saturday it had launched a mechanism enabling it to restrict foreign entities, a much-anticipated move seen as retaliation to US penalties against Chinese companies such as telecom giant Huawei.

An announcement by the Ministry of Commerce did not mention any specific foreign entities, but broadly spelled out the factors that could trigger punitive measures, which may include fines, restrictions on import-export business or investment in China, and the entry of personnel or equipment into the country.

It covers “foreign enterprises, other organisations and individuals”, it said.

The launch of the “unreliable entities list” ups the ante in the escalating commercial fight with the Trump administration, which has used its own “entity list” to bar Huawei from the US market on national security grounds.

The announcement also came a day after the United States ordered a ban on downloads of popular video app TikTok and effectively blocked the use of the Chinese super-app WeChat on similar grounds, which prompted a threat by China to strike back.

Beijing would consider sanctions on entities whose activities “harm China’s national sovereignty, security, and development interests” or violate “internationally accepted economic and trade rules”.

That language closely tracks wording that Beijing has used to repeatedly denounce US actions against Chinese companies.

The ministry said that if an entity is suspected of violating the provisions, an investigation would be launched under China’s cabinet, the State Council.

The foreign party in question would have an opportunity to defend its conduct to the Chinese investigators.

Chinese enterprises that rely on business with the targeted organisations also will be allowed to apply for exemptions from any ban on doing business with them, as the US system allows.

The United States and China are engaged in an escalating trade battle centring on technology.

Huawei, the world’s leading supplier of telecoms networking equipment, has been a particular target.

Washington has used its own entity list to essentially ban Huawei from the US market and prevent American companies from doing any business with it or with Huawei-affiliated organisations.

The United States says Huawei could be used by Chinese state security to infiltrate communications networks.

China’s government and Huawei deny that, saying the US has offered no evidence supporting the claim.

Under a US order on Friday, the Tencent-owned WeChat app would lose functionality in the United States from Sunday. TikTok users will be banned from installing updates but could keep accessing the service through November 12.

China has for years blocked or restricted big US tech companies from operating in its market, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

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B.C. board launches public effort to rename school named after ‘racist’ federal MP – BC


A Vancouver Island school district is embarking on what could be a difficult exercise to rename an elementary school named after a long-serving, controversial former municipal, provincial and federal politician.

The Alberni School District in Port Alberni, B.C., is setting the stage for a public consultation to rename A.W. Neill Elementary School, named for Alan Webster Neill, a former mayor, member of the B.C. legislature and a federal MP who represented the area in the House of Commons from 1921 to 1945.

Neill, known as and advocate for a blue-collar workers, an early backer of the Canada Pension Plan and a supporter of unemployment insurance, was also considered racist for his efforts in the House of Commons to deny voting rights to Asian immigrants, his support of anti-Chinese laws in the B.C. legislature and his approval of Indigenous residential schools.






First Nations’ students successfully petition B.C. government for provincial park name change


First Nations’ students successfully petition B.C. government for provincial park name change

Neill’s own home in Port Alberni included a restriction that it could never be sold to Asian people. He died in 1960 at 91. The home’s covenant was removed earlier this year.

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“In my opinion, his behaviour and his beliefs were so heinous that he doesn’t deserve a spot on a main plaque on any public building,” said Rosemarie Buchanan, a school board trustee who spearheaded a failed 2017 attempt to have the city council drop the name of Neill Street.

“To think we were sending children to a school named after somebody who was an Indian Agent, who believed the residential school system was good for kids,” she said. “He said the Japanese people were a cancer.”


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The district’s school board said in a statement last month it is considering a name change for the school.

“In the Alberni Valley, much discussion has taken place about the values and actions of A.W. Neill and whether or not A.W. Neill Elementary School should continue to bear this individual’s name,” said school board chairwoman Pam Craig.

She said board trustees propose A.W. Neill elementary become either Compton Elementary School or Kitsuksis Elementary School.


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Prof. Reuben Rose-Redwood, a social and cultural geography expert at University of Victoria, said there is a long, worldwide history of renaming places, including cities, streets and public squares. He cited the Soviet Union as an example of a country that underwent extensive name changes.


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Victoria’s council approved the removal of a statue of John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, from the front entrance at city hall earlier this year.

Rose-Redwood said the two issues are similar.






City of Victoria removes John A. Macdonald statue


City of Victoria removes John A. Macdonald statue

“It speaks to what do we in the present hold as our values of who we choose to honour from the past,” he said. “How can we constructively engage with the past in the present to create a better future.”

He said the debate about to unfold in Port Alberni is healthy.

“We often learn our history, not by having monuments there, but by the debates that arise from people who suggest we should remove monuments.”

The Port Alberni school board will decide by next spring whether to make the name change, said Craig, adding the board is looking for public input.


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Buchanan said she knows that people don’t like change.

“Some people have said to me, ‘that was just the way that was at that time.’ There is no get out of jail free card because it was said so many years ago. It is still incredibly racist.”

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Former Port Alberni mayor Mike Ruttan said he expects old history to collide with today’s values during the debate.






Cost of removing John A. Macdonald statue growing


Cost of removing John A. Macdonald statue growing

“I can tell you it isn’t going to be an easy conversation because it isn’t just the name,” said Ruttan, who was mayor when the council rejected a name change for Neill Street.

“Without a doubt, A.W. Neill was racist, but also, we have to think about that time. It was a very racist time and there were what people perceived as a lot of threats to the economy, a lot of threats to safety and all that kind of stuff.”

Neill was the MP during the Great Depression, the years of the Second World War and the growth of residential schools.

Ruttan, a retired school principal, said he went to A.W. Neill school as a youngster. He said he did not know about Neill’s history while growing up in Port Alberni.


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“It’s going to be a really interesting community discussion and ultimately the decision, as I understand it, will be made by the school board,” Ruttan said. “Kudos to them if they can work through this decision without alienating people in the larger community.”

Prof. Ian Baird, a geography expert at University of Wisconsin-Madison, said Neill’s views were strong even for the time period.

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“Even for his day and age, and I think this is the very important thing to recognize, he was one of the most racist politicians around,” said Baird. “He was fundamentally against all Asians from the first moment he entered politics. Asians were seen as an economic threat to white people, or at least to him.”

Baird, who owns property in the Port Alberni area, said changing the name of the school is up to the people of Port Alberni, but “it doesn’t seem to me he’s worthy of an honorific.”




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