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China, Newsom weighs in on fentanyl, climate change, human rights

California Governor Gavin Newsom delved into a number of dense and troubling topics during a trip to China this week.

Fentanyl and climate change were his main themes Meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping Wednesday, Newsom said. He discussed and signed agreements with numerous government officials on carbon markets, methane emissions, battery storage, renewable energy, vehicle electrification, biodiversity and land conservation. Reduce air pollution and promote green energy.

Newsom said that in his meeting with China’s top diplomat, he expressed concerns about human rights, the war between Israel and Hamas, and the plight of David Lin, a Californian who has been detained in China for more than a decade.

But it was a toboggan ride down a mountainside that required a surprising amount of diplomacy.

After a morning meeting on climate strategy with leaders from five Chinese provinces on Thursday, the governor and his entourage headed to the historic Great Wall of China for an afternoon of sightseeing and a scenic meeting with the U.S. ambassador. Ta.

But first, Newsom planned to have a little fun by riding a giant winding slide down the mountainside below the Great Wall of China. In this attraction, you ride a ski lift-style gondola up a mountain, hop on a toboggan (basically a sled on wheels), and descend down a metal chute.

Chinese security did not think it was a good idea. First, they tried to persuade Newsom’s staff to remove him from the plan. Then, as Newsom approached the entrance, Chinese police tried to put the kibosh on him again. They detained Newsom and his entourage at the gate, all the while insisting to the governor’s security personnel that the ride was unsafe. A long exchange ensued, with a hasty translator in between.

Newsom’s security personnel were adamant that they had checked the ride quality in advance and there were no problems with the setup. In the end they won. Newsom and his assistant rode a gondola up the mountain. He waited in line until his turn at the top, then rode the toboggan down.

Think of it as an international incident that it wasn’t.

The weight of his visit reflects a little of the growing concern that something may go wrong while Newsom rides children’s rides. Newsom is the first U.S. governor to visit China since 2019, and has received warm welcomes in each city he visits.

“The Chinese people currently lack trust in Washington as a whole and are distrustful of some American politicians. However, the reception to Governor Newsom’s visit was sincere and warm.” Ta. Global Times editorialCommunist Party newspaper.

After walking the Great Wall of China with U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Mr. Newsom addressed a crowd gathered to celebrate California’s partnership with China. The partnership is already promoting action to reduce pollution and develop a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gas emissions. He talked about the large number of Chinese Americans living in California and shared his memories of spending time with his father in San Francisco’s Chinatown during his childhood.

“I remember that we are sitting on the Great Wall of China talking about how to break down the wall of division between our two countries,” Newsom said.

I’m Laurel Rosenhall, Sacramento bureau chief for The Times. I’m on the road this week to cover Newsom’s trip to China. Check out our previous coverage:

Here’s what else is happening in California politics this week.

Instagram and Facebook accused of harming children

Social media company Goliath Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced this week that California and a number of other states have banned mental health risks for young people on the major social network and its platform, Instagram.

This is the government’s latest response to the impact social media platforms have on our lives and the lives and well-being of our children, reports Queenie Wong in the Times.

The 233-page lawsuit, filed in federal court in Northern California, alleges the social media giant violated state consumer protection laws and federal laws aimed at protecting the privacy of children under 13. Other states are also suing, including Florida, Utah and Vermont. Separate lawsuits. A total of 41 states and Washington, D.C. have taken legal action against meth.

“Meta has leveraged its extraordinary innovation and technology to engage adolescents and teens to get the most out of their products,” said Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said at a press conference in San Francisco. “In an effort to increase profits, Meta has repeatedly misled the public about the serious dangers of its products.

The legal action highlights how states are trying to address potential mental health risks exacerbated by social media platforms, including body image issues, anxiety and depression. At a separate press conference with a bipartisan group of state attorneys general including Colorado, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, meth was compared to the tobacco industry.

Democratic Senate candidate’s foreign policy track record comes under spotlight amid Israel-Hamas war

The Hamas attacks on Israel and the Israeli shelling of Gaza have highlighted the differences in foreign policy instincts and experience of the leading California Democratic candidates vying for the late Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, says Cameron of the Times’ Washington bureau. Reported by Joseph.

Just days after terrorists attacked America on September 11, 2001, Congressman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) rushed to give President George W. Bush broad powers to invade Afghanistan. ) was forced to make a decisive decision. her career.

Mr. Lee told the Times in a recent interview that he determined that authorization as written “could set the stage for eternal war.” After intense deliberation, she decided to cast her no vote as the only councilor who opposed the bill.

Twenty-two years later, Mr. Lee, Rep. Adam B. Schiff of Burbank and Rep. Katie Porter of Irvine have joined the ranks once held by Dianne Feinstein as a key figure in foreign affairs and national security for decades. He is now the leading Democratic Party vying for the U.S. Senate seat. policy. California voters now have to choose between candidates with vastly different foreign policy approaches and experience.

Lee’s immediate reaction to the attack on Israel by Hamas militants this month was much like her reaction to 9/11. “I believe that our country has a responsibility to call for a ceasefire and call for the whole world to come together to try to stop the escalation of what is happening in the Middle East. And if we can bring all parties together and talk, Peace is possible,” she said at a candidates forum held the weekend of the attack.

Mr. Schiff put it differently. “As Israel goes through 9/11, the only sentiment I want to express is unequivocal support for Israel’s security and right to defend itself,” he said.

Mr. Porter gave a hawkish response, saying, “I stand with Israel during this time and condemn the loss of life, both Palestinian and Israeli victims of this terrorism.” has allowed terrorism to spread.” and refuses to take a strong enough stance against Iran”—supporting the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

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