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China puts Tibetan Writers Under House Arrest

China continues to suppress human rights in Tibet

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FILE - Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser is pictured in Inner Mongolia, northern China, June 23, 2014. Photo credit: VOA/AP
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April 27,2016:  Prominent Tibetan writers Tsering Woeser and her husband, Wang Lixiong, told Voice of America (VOA) they were placed under house arrest Wednesday in Beijing.

According to an email from Woeser, the couple are to remain in their home for the remainder of the week because of a five-day visit to China’s capital by the head of the American Himalayan Foundation, with whom Woeser is not personally familiar.

Woeser said neither she and nor her husband had ever had any contact with the foundation or received notification of its president’s visit. Her protest on Twitter caused concern and angry cries from supporters.

She also tweeted a message to the foundation notifying the group of their house arrest.

AHF made no response to VOA’s interview request by the deadline of filing the story.

Woeser, who has been recognized for speaking out publicly about human rights conditions for China’s Tibetan citizens, is regularly under state surveillance and placed under house arrest by Beijing. In 2013, she was denied a passport after planning to travel to the United States to receive a State Department “Women of Courage” award to mark International Women’s Day.

Woeser and her husband rank among China’s best-known thinkers on Beijing’s policies regarding ethnic minorities.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA’s Mandarin service.

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To Pursue Philanthropy, Alibaba’s Chief Executive Jack Ma Steps Down

Ma is retiring as at a time when the China is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the US and the Chinese economy is facing slowing growth and increasing debt.

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The logo is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. VOA

In a surprising move, China’s richest man, Jack Ma, has revealed plans to step down as the Executive Chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education, paving the way for a change of guard for the $420 billion Internet company that he co-founded.

Ma will turn 54 on Monday, which is also a holiday in China and known as Teacher’s Day.

In an exclusive New York Times interview, the Chinese billionaire said on Friday that his retirement was not the end of an era but “the beginning of an era”.

“I love education,” the Chinese billionaire said, adding that he would be spending more of his time and fortune focused on education.

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A former English teacher, Ma co-founded Alibaba with 17 others out of his apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in 1999.

He built it into one of the world’s most consequential e-commerce and digital payments companies, transforming how Chinese people shop and pay for things which fuelled his net worth to more than $40 billion, making him China’s richest man.

Ma is revered by many Chinese, some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship in the same way that they worship the God of Wealth.

Ma will remain on Alibaba’s board of directors and continue to mentor the company’s management.

The retirement makes Ma one of the first founders among a generation of prominent Chinese Internet entrepreneurs to step down from their companies.

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Visitors walk past a giant display at the Alibaba Group headquarters in Hangzhou, in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, May 27, 2016. VOA

Firms including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com have flourished in recent years, growing to nearly rival American Internet behemoths like Amazon and Google in their size, scope and ambition.

Last month, Alibaba reported a 60 per cent increase in quarterly sales, even as profits fell.

The company’s annual revenue totals about 250 billion yuan ($40 billion).

Alibaba has also changed the way people work in China. Millions of people now run their own shops selling goods on its Taobao ecommerce platform or stream their own videos on its entertainment platforms, The Financial Times reported.

Taobao is estimated to have created almost 37m jobs in China, according to a study last year by Renmin University’s School of Labour and Human Resources, the report added.

For Chinese tycoons to step aside in their 50s is rare; they usually remain at the top of their organisations for many years.

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Ma is revered by many Chinese, some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship in the same way that they worship the God of Wealth. Flickr

In an interview earlier this week, Ma had signaled that he was thinking about focusing more on philanthropy. He cited the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates as an example.

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Ma is retiring as at a time when the China is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the US and the Chinese economy is facing slowing growth and increasing debt, The New York Times report said. (IANS)

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