Saturday January 18, 2020
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Stop pressurising expats, US warns China

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Washington: US diplomats have warned China to stop using covert law enforcement agents on US soil to pressure Chinese citizens into returning home to face justice, often on corruption charges, US officials said.

Placing a law enforcement official here without notifying American authorities is criminal, CNN quoted the officials as saying.

They acknowledged the US and China have a legal cooperation treaty but stressed that it requires Beijing to share evidence and work through the US legal system.

China responded on Monday through its state news agency, Xinhua, saying it was simply fighting corruption with a programme called Fox Hunt 2015.

“China’s operation is legitimate and has been approved in bilateral agreements reached earlier this year,” China said. ” ‘Fox Hunt 2015,’ which targets corrupt officials of government departments and state-owned enterprises, is an important effort of China to crack down (on) corruption.”

Xinhua said US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson promised to actively support China’s “Sky Net” and “Fox Hunt” operations, which aim to bring back corrupt officials.

China apparently issued its statement in response to stories in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal about the US warning.

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John Kirby

State Department spokesman John Kirby addressed the issue in general terms on Monday at a press briefing, saying it’s a criminal offence for “an individual other than a diplomatic or consular officer to act in the US as a law enforcement agent of a foreign power” without notifying the US attorney general.

(IANS)

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New Virus Can Spread Through Human Contact: China

China: Possible That New Virus Could Spread Between Humans

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Security guards stand in front of the closed Huanan wholesale seafood market, where health authorities say a man who died from a respiratory illness had purchased goods from, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China. VOA

The possibility that a new virus in central China could spread between humans cannot be ruled out, though the risk of transmission at the moment appears to be low, Chinese officials said Wednesday.

Forty-one people in the city of Wuhan have received a preliminary diagnosis of a novel coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both the common cold and more serious diseases. A 61-year-old man with severe underlying conditions died from the coronavirus on Saturday.

While preliminary investigations indicate that most of the patients had worked at or visited a particular seafood wholesale market, one woman may have contracted the virus from her husband, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a public notice.

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Commuters wear protection masks inside a subway train in Hong Kong, China. VOA

The commission said the husband, who fell ill first, worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Meanwhile, the wife said she hasn’t had any exposure to the market.

It’s possible that the husband brought home food from the market that then infected his wife, Hong Kong health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a news briefing. But because the wife did not exhibit symptoms until days after her husband, it’s also possible that he infected her.

Chuang and other Hong Kong health officials spoke to reporters Wednesday following a trip to Wuhan, where mainland Chinese authorities briefed them on the outbreak.

The threat of human-to-human transmission remains low, Chuang said, as hundreds of people, including medical professionals, have been in close contact with infected individuals and have not been infected themselves.

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She echoed Wuhan authorities’ assertion that there remains no definitive evidence of human-to-human transmission.

The outbreak in Wuhan has raised the specter of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS is a type of coronavirus that first struck southern China in late 2002. It then spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people. (VOA)

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