The Chinese government recently passed new legislation which will tighten the Communist Party’s hold on the country’s political process, and satellite photographs show the country’s artificial island in the South China Sea is nearly complete.
The law which the Chinese legislature approved—a sweeping new security measure—will give the government more authority to limit free speech and thought. The law touches on everything from “illegal cult activity” to Chinese missions to explore outer space and the polar regions.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has stated that the country’s national security interests comprise areas as diverse as culture, politics, the military, technology, and environment—not just the more limited conception of national security issues in the West.
It is expected that these new laws will be used as a pretext to curtail civil rights in the country and crush dissent.
This latest national security law is one of several controversial laws passed recently which increase the government’s authority even more in China.
“The fact that these different pieces of legislation are all moving forward in tandem indicates the seriousness of Beijing’s commitment as well as the growing influence of hardliners shaping China’s technology policy agenda,” Samm Sacks, a China analyst at Eurasia Group, said.
Earlier this year, Chinese state-owned media stepped up anti-West rhetoric, going so far as to say that Western values are a “ticket to hell.”
“Over the last two years or so, the propaganda has become less refined. There’s a big market for this kind of crude nationalism,” Willy Lam, a Chinese politics expert at Hong Kong’s Chinese University, said.
Meanwhile, a U.S. military official said on Wednesday that a controversial Chinese construction project—a new airstrip—in the disputed Spratly archipelago is nearly done.
Two helipads, ten satellite communications antennae, and what is possibly a radar tower have been constructed on the island already.
Images also showed a Chinese naval vessel anchored off the island’s coast.
The complex on this island would help the Chinese project air power across the South China Sea.
Over the last year, China has increased the rate at which they build these artificial islands, which in turn are used as military instillation.
Tensions in the region are high. These construction projects are seen as “aggression” by many regional powers. Last month, Japan, India, and Australia met in New Delhi to discuss the growing tensions and present a united front in opposition.