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Understanding China’s response to the Soleimani killing

The assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani was a monumental event in the ongoing US-Iran rivalry, the consequences of which will resonate throughout the Middle East and beyond for some time to come. Israeli leadership has lauded the Trump administration’s actions, with PM Netanyahu recently telling the media that “Trump is worthy of full appreciation for acting with determination, strongly and swiftly.” But Israel’s second-largest trading partner, China, views this event in starkly different terms. In light of China’s expanding presence both in Israel and its backyard, Beijing’s response is important to examine.

At a press conference held shortly after the event, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang went beyond the usual calls for restraint singling out America and calling for all parties “to keep calm and exercise restraint and avoid a further escalation of tensions.” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reinforced China’s position in a call to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, complaining that the “dangerous US military operation violates the basic norms of international relations and will aggravate regional tensions and turbulence.”

SIGNAL Note 67: The Moroccan Exception

The 2011 “Arab Spring” ushered in a period of fanatical intolerance across the Middle East. Minority groups were persecuted as violent Islamist organizations spread terror from Egypt to Iraq.

But this outbreak of fanaticism and violence was nothing new. In fact, persecution of Middle Eastern minorities has been a defining feature of regional history for the past century. Consider the most obvious example: in 1948, shortly before the State of Israel declared independence, approximately 800,000 Jews lived in countries ruled by Arab Muslims. Today, almost all of those Jewish communities are gone. Jews were stripped of their citizenship, their property was stolen and, in some cases, Jewish communities were violently attacked.

Chinese Human Rights Delegation Visits Israel

Amidst allegations of abuses occurring in re-education camps in Xinjiang, and as protests continue to rage in Hong Kong, an official delegation from the China Foundation for Human Rights Development traveled to Israel last week for talks with Knesset members, think tanks, and academic institutions.

The visit, led by the former Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Mr. Huang Mengfu, aimed to foster deeper mutual understanding between the two countries on various human rights issues.

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