​University of Arizona Launches East Asia Program

​University of Arizona Launches East Asia Program

By Corinne Murdock |

The University of Arizona (UArizona) announced this week that it would establish a Center for East Asian Studies. East Asia includes China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. UArizona is the only higher education institution in the state with an East Asia NRC. 

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) awarded UArizona $5.9 million to launch the program under its Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) Title IV National Resource Center (NRC) grants. 

The purpose of Title VI NRCs is to instill understanding of the countries featured by the center and teach one or more of those countries’ languages. Additionally, these centers maintain relationships with foreign higher education institutions and other organizations that contribute to each center’s teaching and research. 

Other East Asia NRCs are located at Columbia University, Stanford University, Ohio State University, University of California – Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Hawaii, University of Kansas, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Washington, and University of Wisconsin – Madison. 

For the 2022 fiscal year, OPE appropriated over $25.5 million in funds to NRCs. 

The establishment of a center focused on East Asian studies comes about two years after the mass forced closures of Chinese government-backed Confucius Institutes: a trio consisting of the Chinese government, a Chinese higher education institute, and an American higher education institute. 

Confucius Institutes pushed Chinese propaganda without academic freedom under the guise of teaching Chinese language and culture. In all, the Chinese government had a foothold in 118 higher education institutions. 

Along with UArizona, Arizona State University (ASU) once had a Confucius Institute. Under changes to federal law under the Trump administration, both universities closed their institutes. 

However, both universities have maintained their ties to China through other avenues. UArizona continues its relationship with China and their Confucius Institute partner Shaanxi Normal University through other departments, such as the Center for Buddhist Studies. Likewise, ASU continues its relationship with China’s Sichuan University.

While it had a Confucius Institute on campus, UArizona shared a comfortable relationship with the Chinese government. Three years into the institute’s founding, the university shared a news feature on their institute from CCTV: the Chinese government-controlled news station. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

​University of Arizona Launches East Asia Program

Senate Committee Approves Bill Banning State From Contracts Relying On Forced Uyghur Labor

By Corinne Murdock |

A bill to prevent the state and public utilities from contracting with companies who rely on forced Uyghur labor, HB2488, passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee 8-1 on Wednesday. The only senator to vote against the bill was State Senator Tyler Pace (R-Mesa). The Uyghurs are a Muslim ethnic group that the Chinese government has detained in “reeducation camps” since 2017. The legislation passed out of the House nearly a month ago.

HB2488 prohibits the state and any of its political subdivisions, agencies, boards, commissions, or departments from entering contracts without explicit confirmation that the company doesn’t and won’t rely on forced labor from Uyghurs in China. The prohibition also extends to goods and services produced by those Uyghurs, as well as any Uyghur labor used by a company’s contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers. 

The bill sponsor, State Representative Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) explained in a press release that this was a necessary measure to stand against human rights violations.

“As a student of history, I know what happens when good people remain silent,” stated Wilmeth. “The Chinese Communist Party keeping millions of people locked in internment camps, which harkens back to the darkest chapters of the 20th century. HB 2488 sends a strong message that the State of Arizona won’t do business with anyone that turns a blind eye to this horrible human rights abuse.”

In the House, the bill passed unanimously. The only other votes against the bill that occurred came from Minority Whip Domingo Degrazia (D-Tucson) and State Representative Diego Espinoza (D-Tolleson) in the Rules Committee. Degrazia ultimately voted for the bill during the final house floor vote, while Espinoza didn’t vote at all. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

​University of Arizona Launches East Asia Program

Arizona Legislator Proposes Ban on Forced Uyghur Labor

By Corinne Murdock |

A proposed bill, HB2488, would prevent Arizona or any public utilities from entering into contracts with companies unless the contracts stipulate that they don’t and won’t rely on forced labor of the Uyghurs within China. The Uyghurs are a Muslim ethnic group that the Chinese government has detained in “reeducation camps” since 2017. 

State Representative Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) introduced the bill, pulling in nine cosponsors with him: Majority Whip Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu City) and Assistant Minority Leader Jennifer Longdon (D-Phoenix), along with State Representatives Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), Frank Carroll (R-Sun City West), Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale), Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix), Teresa Martinez (R-Casa Grande), Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott), and Amish Shah (D-Phoenix).

If passed, states and any of its political subdivisions or agencies, boards, commissions, or departments would be limited from engaging in contracts without confirmation that labor hasn’t and won’t be derived from the imprisoned Uyghurs. The bill extends to organizations, associations, corporations, partnerships, joint ventures, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies or other entities or business associations including a wholly-owned subsidiary, majority-owned subsidiary, parent company, or affiliate that engages in for-profit activity and that has 10 or more full-time employees. 

“A public entity may not enter into a contract with a company to acquire or dispose of services, supplies, information technology, goods or construction unless the contract includes a written certification that the company does not currently, and agrees for the duration of the contract that it will not, use: 1) The forced labor of ethnic Uyghurs in the People’s Republic of China. 2) Any goods or services produced by the forced labor of ethnic Uyghurs in the People’s Republic of China. 3) Any contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers that use the forced labor or any goods or services produced by the forced labor of ethnic Uyghurs in the People’s Republic of China.”

In a press release, Wilmeth alluded that the Uyghurs’ treatment is paramount to the 20th century detainments of the Jewish and Japanese peoples. 

“As a student of history, I know what happens when good people remain silent,” stated Wilmeth. “The Chinese Communist Party keeping millions of people locked in internment camps, which harkens back to the darkest chapters of the 20th century. HB 2488 sends a strong message that the State of Arizona won’t do business with anyone that turns a blind eye to this horrible human rights abuse.”

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report earlier this month on the Uyghurs explaining that the minority group is subject to forced labor within the textile, apparel, agricultural, consumer electronics, and other industries under threat of detention. Additionally, Uyghurs suffer forced assimilation efforts by outlawing their traditional dress and appearance, customs, and dietary laws; demolishing or shutting down mosques; reducing birth rates through forced sterilization and birth control; requiring their children attend state-run boarding schools; forcing them to renounce their beliefs; and installing Chinese spies and law enforcement within their homes and communities to monitor their compliance. The research reported that former detainees described poor detainment conditions: factory labor, crowded and unsanitary conditions, food deprivation, psychological coercion, sexual abuse, medical neglect, and even torture that sometimes led to death. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Senators Kelly, Sinema Support Higher Taxes for Job-Creators in Arizona Than China

Senators Kelly, Sinema Support Higher Taxes for Job-Creators in Arizona Than China

By Corinne Murdock |

Democratic Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema will likely support the Biden Administration and Democrats’ $3.5 trillion tax plan, causing Americans to pay more in corporate taxes in Arizona than in China. The bill was derived from President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, and it would be the largest spending bill in American history.

If the bill passes, the federal-state corporate tax rate in Arizona would jump to over 30 percent, while China’s tax rate would be around 25 percent. That’s not including those enterprises in certain industries supported heavily by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which could receive a tax rate as low as 10 to 15 percent. Additionally, the bill would cause capital gains tax in Arizona to rise up over 35 percent, while China’s would ring in around 20 percent. This data was compiled by Americans for Tax Reform.

Back in July, Sinema expressed lack of support for the bill in July over its price tag, but not its content. At that point, Kelly hadn’t made a commitment to the bill either.

“I have also made clear that while I will support beginning this process, I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion,” said Sinema. “And in the coming months, I will work in good faith to develop this legislation with my colleagues and the administration to strengthen Arizona’s economy and help Arizona’s everyday families get ahead.”

However, both Sinema and Kelly voted in favor of the framework for the $3.5 trillion plan last month.

The Biden Administration and Democratic Party’s proposed tax increases would cause the U.S. to have one of the highest capital gains taxes in the world.

Analysts with the Tax Foundation estimated that the impact of this policy would reduce the GDP by about one percent: more than $2 for every $1 in new tax revenue, or about $332 billion of lost output annually. Over the course of a decade, the cumulative GDP would reduce by nearly $1.2 to $1.8 trillion, which they stated would far exceed the amount of revenue the plan would raise in the same amount of time.

All while eliminating an estimated 303,000 full-time jobs. The primary cause for these projected negative changes comes from the proposed corporate tax rate. They estimate that this alone would reduce the GDP by .6 percent and eliminate 107,000 jobs.

As for after-tax incomes, they estimated that individual taxpayers would see an average reduction of $800 each year.

The Tax Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst, Garrett Watson, assessed that ultimately, low- and middle-income families would feel these repercussions the most.

“The economic harm caused by the tax increases would claw back some of the plan’s expanded tax credits aimed at low- and middle-income families. For those in the bottom 30 percent, it would reduce the average net benefit of the plan per filer from $341 to $233, a 30 percent reduction,” wrote Watson. “Before accounting for economic effects, filers in the middle quintile would see a decrease in average after-tax income of about $38 – mostly due to the corporate tax increases – but that would rise to a $493 drop in average after-tax income every year when including the negative economic effects. The top quintile would see a $1,287 drop in average after-tax income, rising to a $3,861 drop in average after-tax income on a dynamic basis.”

They also noted that these proposed changes would raise a net federal revenue of around $1.1 trillion from next year to 2031, without accounting for dynamic factors like the estimated reduction in economy size. However, that revenue would be reduced by $1 trillion in tax credits. If dynamic factors weren’t excluded, federal revenue would ring in around $804 billion in revenue net of tax credits.

Per a poll released by Navigator Research earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that an overwhelming majority of Americans supported the Build Back Better Act. The results meted out to 66 percent of Americans, 61 percent of independents, and 39 percent of Republicans.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.