As a family we were prepared for him to die — he’d been unwell since the start of the year and had been in and out of hospital. But when the news reached me in London on a Friday morning in September, it was still a shock.
There was a sense of deep regret. I had promised to go back to see him once the pandemic was over. I missed the days when we sat next to each other talking about everything. This will now never happen.
I grew up under the same roof as my grandparents in a three-story house built by their four sons in eastern China.
Grandfather never spent much time talking about his past but over the years, through stories retold by my father and three uncles, I learnt that he’d had a turbulent life — one that resonates in today’s pandemic-stricken world when many people feel they are prevented from realising their ambitions and chasing their dreams.
He, too, had a dream — a humble one: just to stay alive. Shortly after he was born the Chinese civil war broke out. When he was almost a teenager Japan invaded China. The horror of the killing shaped his view of a country living in fear and humiliated by foreign occupation.
Then, when the fight against the Japanese finally ended, civil war resumed. My grandfather, like many of his friends, fought alongside the Nationalists. By the late 1940s it became clear the Communists were going to take over, and he was given the choice to leave for the island of Taiwan, along with other defeated Nationalists.
But Ni Xili decided to stay — because my grandmother was pregnant with their first child. He also didn’t want to leave his homeland.
For many years after the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, Chinese life was tumultuous and unpredictable.
Shortly after my grandparents decided to stay, waves of political upheaval arrived. His background became a problem. Like many in Communist China who had been associated with the Nationalists, he was paraded around when other families gathered together to celebrate the lunar New Year.
‘I took an exam that changed China’
Objects from China’s Cultural Revolution
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And the family was poor. One day my grandmother cooked an egg and cut it into four pieces to feed their four hungry teenage sons. My father told me this story many years ago, and he had tears in his eyes.
But my grandfather never gave up on the dream of a better life: one where the family would live peaceably and where his children would have the means to better themselves.
He told his four sons that things do change, but learning a useful skill would help them survive. So my father and his three brothers, who were prohibited from entering high school because they were from the “wrong background”, all learned to be carpenters — hence the three-story house I grew up in.
When China changed course
Things did begin to slowly change on the mainland towards the end of the 1970s. Chairman Mao had died in 1976; his Cultural Revolution ebbed away — and in 1979 the United States embraced the People’s Republic diplomatically.
To historians, this move altered the trajectory of the Cold War; to those barely stepping out of Mao’s shadow, it opened their eyes and brought them a glimmer of hope.
media caption”We immediately recognised the significance of this” — the moment when Nixon met Mao
Ordinary people may not think in terms of geopolitics or great power rivalry. But they know the thaw between Washington and Beijing helped China move forward and showed its people an alternative way of life.
In the 1990s when some Chinese people began to emigrate to America, the national TV sensation was a long series called A Beijing Native in New York. It began with this line: “If you love him, send him to New York, for it’s heaven. If you hate him, send him to New York, too, for it’s hell.”
What my grandfather’s life taught me about China and America
When my grandfather was in his mid-20s, he made a life-changing choice to stay in mainland China — one that would alter the course of my family’s story.
It also gave him a front-row seat on much of modern Chinese history.
And in an unexpected way, it would shape his view of the United States, which is now questioning the benefits of its 40-year engagement with China as relations plummet.
My grandfather Ni Xili died in September aged 95, prompting me to reflect on the tumultuous times he lived through — and what America has meant to many Chinese people of that generation.
What does the future hold for this relationship in the years to come?
Surviving war and revolution
Ni Xili was born in the inter-war years, in January, 1925. But that is only according to his death certificate. Like many Chinese people of that generation, his exact birth day is not known because the registration system barely existed at the time.
What he remembered is that he was born in the year of the rat — the lunar Chinese zodiac — during winter. The rat is the same zodiac as mine, although we were six decades apart in age.
Until recently, many Chinese people found America fascinating, despite its contradictions. So in 2012 when I told grandfather that I was going to live and work there as a reporter, he put his thumbs up, his eyes beaming with pride.
Vincent at the 2013 inauguration
IMAGE COPYRIGHTVINCENT NI
image captionVincent as a Washington correspondent covering the Obama-Biden inauguration in 2013
America today is different from what it was even eight years ago. The deterioration of its relationship with China under the
administration has often made global headlines in the past four years.
Some of my friends in the US now worry that their upbringing in China might one day land them in trouble.
To Robert Daly, who was in his 20s when he played one of the main roles in A Beijing Native in New York, the change in Chinese attitudes toward the US in the last few years is telling.
“In the early years of US-China diplomatic relations, there was tremendous goodwill on both sides. The Chinese were full of excitement after a long period of alienation; they were curious about the outside world, in particular about the United States,” Daly told me from Washington, where he now directs the Woodrow Wilson Centre’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States.
IMAGE COPYRIGHTROBERT DALY
image captionRobert Daly was the only American actor in A Beijing Native in New York in the early 1990s
These days, Americans have less favourable views of China. But the feeling on the other side of the Pacific is mutual.
As outgoing President Donald Trump’s strategists describe US-China engagement as a failure and advocate Washington “decouple” with Beijing, many Chinese, according to the China Data Lab at the University of California San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, also express disapproval of America.
“[And] Covid-19 made the situation worse,” Professor Lei Guang, who led the study, tells me. “President Trump’s insistence on calling Covid the ‘China virus’ incensed the Chinese public, whose views are shaped by heavy censorship and a closed media environment.
“Trump’s poor handling of the pandemic affected the standing of the United States, once seen as the almighty superpower, among the Chinese public as well. Until and unless the two countries mend their diplomatic relationship, the Chinese public’s views of the US are unlikely to improve,” Prof Guang says.
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President-elect Joe Biden will soon lay out his China policy as he takes over in the White House on 20 January. Some analysts expect an improvement in bilateral relations.
But Robert Daly disagrees. “There is no going back,” he says. “US-China relations are going to remain fundamentally contentious — probably for decades to come.”
I never had a chance to speak about the shift in the mood in Washington today with my grandfather.
But I don’t think he would agree with the talk of decoupling and the end of engagement, for it was America’s closer relationship with China that opened the door to millions of his countrymen and women.
And his proud grandson was one of them.
You can listen to Vincent’s radio dispatch on the life of his grandfather from From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Sounds.
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media captionWhat was China’s Cultural Revolution?
Maharashtra: Covid-19 restrictions to continue till January 31
Although almost all the restrictions imposed in the state under lockdown, which began from the third week of March this year, have been lifted, certain curbs are still in place
The Maharashtra government on Wednesday extended the restrictions imposed in the state in view of the Covid-19 pandemic till January 31. A notification to that effect was issued by the chief secretary Sanjay Kumar.
Although almost all the restrictions imposed in the state under lockdown, which began from the third week of March this year, have been lifted, curbs on the reopening of private and government offices, schools, swimming pools, and interstate activities are still in place. Local trains in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region are yet to begin operations for all commuters. The state government is yet to allow schools and colleges to reopen. Further, the ban on large gatherings for social, religious and political purposes is also in place.
‘Covid-19 wake-up call’:?WHO?warns future pandemics to be far deadlier
Maharashtra has been witnessing a low number of Covid-19 cases for over two months. For 25 consecutive days, there have been less than 5,000 cases. As of Wednesday, the case tally stood at 1,925,066 and death toll reached 49,373.
The state government had, on December 22, imposed a seven-hour night curfew from December 22 till January 5 in all urban areas governed by 27 municipal corporations, and empowered districts collectors to impose similar restrictions in rural areas if they deemed fit.
The government urged citizens to stay at home while welcoming the new year on December 31 and January 1 and avoid crowding in public places, especially on seashores, in gardens and on roads. It has also started quarantining all travellers coming from Europe, Middle East and South Africa for seven days as a precautionary measure in view of the mutated strain of the coronavirus being discovered in the UK.
DoT may have Rs 3,050 crore ‘good news’ for Airtel, Vodafone in Reliance Jio call failure case: Things to know
Department of Telecom (DoT) may soon have good news for Airtel and Vodafone-Idea (now Vi). The department is likely to waive Rs 3,050 crore fine imposed on the two telecom companies as per a report in Financial Express. Here’s what reportedly may prompt the move and more…
Stocks in the news | SBI, Paisalo Digital, UPL, Jindal Steel & Power, APL Apollo Tubes, IIFL Securities
Pritish Nandy Communications, Snowman Logistics, Acrysil, CARE Ratings, NDTV, IFGL Refractories, Jindal Stainless Hisar, Lincoln Pharmaceuticals, Mayur Uniquoters, Hi-Klass Trading and Investment, are also among the stocks in focus today.
Mumbai man booked for ‘raping’ friend’s wife at his behest gets bail
HC says not clear which incident he was involved in, belated complaint.
THE BOMBAY High Court granted bail to a man booked for allegedly having sexual relations with a woman and raping her at the behest of her husband working in Merchant Navy and other offences under the Information Technology Act. Though the woman identified the man, he was granted bail on the grounds that it was not clear when he had a physical relationship with her as the act was done on the prompting of the husband.
A single-judge bench of Justice Prakash D Naik on December 21 passed the order on the bail plea by the accused, booked under sections 376D (gangrape) and 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC and Section 66E (violation of privacy) of the IT Act. He was arrested on June 18, last year.
The man was accused of raping the woman between 2015 and 2018 and was arrested as a result of an investigation into the woman’s complaint that she was forced by her husband to have sexual relations with other men in his presence.
According to the complaint, she was married to a man working in Merchant Navy and the couple was living separately since September 6, 2015. She alleged that in 2015, when her husband returned from ship, he invited a couple to their house and after consuming alcohol, the husband’s friend sexually assaulted her.
The next day, the complainant’s husband told her that he recorded the act and asked his friend to have sex with her. Similar incidents took place thereafter in 2016 and 2018 at the husband’s behest. The husband, the prime accused, threatened the woman that he would post the video online that forced her to comply.
Advocate Anjali Patil for the applicant submitted that though the incidents took place between 2015 and 2018, there was an inordinate delay in registering an FIR in 2019 and there was no explanation for it. She further submitted that though the complainant identified her client through the identification parade, a vague role was attributed to him and, therefore, offence under Section 376 of the IPC cannot be levelled against him.
The bench observed, “Although the applicant has been identified, it is not clear as to in which incident he is involved. The complaint was lodged belatedly. Prima facie it appears that Section 376 may not be attracted against the applicant. Since the trial is pending, giving such a finding is not warranted. The applicant is in custody for a period of about one-and-a-half years. Hence, a case for grant of bail is made out.”
Hyderabad: Human skull, bones found on building roof
HYDERABAD: A human skull and a few bones were found in a heap of mud on top of a multi-storeyed commercial building at AS Rao Nagar on Tuesday.
The incident took place on the terrace of Vertex building at AS Rao Nagar when workers were removing a heap of construction debris. “There is a junior college on the fourth floor of the building and to prevent students from going to the terrace, the terrace gate was always locked. On Tuesday, labourers were sent to remove construction debris and clear a water leakage problem. We have sent the findings to forensic lab,” Kushaiguda inspector A Man Mohan said. A case was registered.
Coronavirus India Live Updates: Maharashtra government extends lockdown restrictions till Jan 31
Coronavirus India Live News Updates: India, meanwhile, extended a temporary ban on UK-India flights till January 7, after which “strict-regulated” resumption will take place.
Coronavirus India Live Updates: The United Kingdom on Wednesday approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, even as it battles a major winter surge in cases driven by a new, highly contagious variant of coronavirus.
“The government has today accepted the recommendation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to authorise Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for use,” the health ministry said, Reuters reported.
India, meanwhile, extended a temporary ban on UK-India flights till January 7, after which “strict-regulated” resumption will take place. The Civil Aviation Ministry had suspended all flights between UK and India from December 23 to December 31 over the detection of a mutated variant of coronavirus.
India has recorded 14 fresh cases of new coronavirus mutant strain first reported in the United Kingdom in September, taking the total number of cases to 20, news agency PTI reported. The tally includes six people who were found positive for the new virus strain on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, India reported 20,550 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total tally to 1,02,44,853, according to data from the Union Health Ministry. With 286 deaths in the past 24 hours, the overall death toll rose to 1,48,439. While there are 2,62,272 active cases in the country, as many as 98,34,141 people have recovered from the disease.
Explained |The mutation of viruses, and the coronavirus mutant in the UK
Meanwhile, the country’s top government medical experts Tuesday reassured that vaccines developed against the novel coronavirus would remain effective despite the emergence of the new, more contagious strain in the United Kingdom. However, they cautioned that injudicious use of unproven therapies against Covid-19 puts “immune pressure” on the virus, which can lead to mutations.
Income tax return filing due date: Will Nirmala Sitharaman extend ITR last date/deadline for tax payers?
Income tax return filing due date: Will Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman extend Income Tax Return (ITR) filing last date for tax payers?
Income tax return filing due date: Will Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman extend Income Tax Return (ITR) filing last date for tax payers? Direct tax professionals have sought extension for tax audit report, income tax returns for audit cases and time limit for AGMs in the wake of the ongoing pandemic scenario. The Direct Taxes Professionals Association (DTPA) has urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for extension of date of furnishing of tax audit report under section 44AB to February 28 and the due date of filing of income tax returns of assessment year 2020–21 in audit cases to March, 31, 2021.
Due to the corona pandemic normalcy in operations is yet to set in. Even many professionals as well as their staff have suffered infection from COVID-19. Therefore, there is need for extension of dates for furnishing tax audit reports and ITRs, DTPA president N K Goyal said in their recent submission to the government, as per a report in PTI.
“Out of 5.25 crore assessees some 3.75 crore, including individuals have already filed returns. The remaining are mostly firms and corporates where tax audit is required and there is a demand for extension, DTPA chairman (PR and representation committee) Narayan Jain had said. The individual ITR deadline is December 31, he said, as per the report.
Vivad se Vishwas
The professionals body also sought for extension of date for filing declaration under Vivad se Vishwas (VSV) scheme from December 31, 2020 to February 28, 2021. The government had introduced the VSV scheme to settle tax dispute cases of taxpayers in the pandemic period.
On holding AGMs, the former president of Institute of Company Secretaries of India Mamta Binani said, Since many corporates have not yet been able to complete their accounts and audit due to corona pandemic the last date for holding AGM needs to be extended to March 31 and the gap between two AGMs may be allowed upto 21 months”.
Meanwhile, around 4.37 crore income tax returns for fiscal 2019–20 (Assessment Year 2020–21) have been filed till December 28, the I-T department said on Tuesday. In the comparative period last year, 4.51 crore ITRs were filed. With just three days left for the deadline for income tax return (ITR) filing for individuals to end, the tax department asked taxpayers not to wait and file returns early.
“Over 4.37 crore Income Tax Returns for AY 2020–21 have already been filed till 28th of December, 2020,” the Income Tax department tweeted. This includes over 2.44 crore taxpayers filing ITR-1, over 95.64 lakh filing ITR-4, over 53.12 lakh filing ITR-3 and over 32.30 lakh filing ITR-2.
The deadline to file I-T returns by individual taxpayers for 2019–20 fiscal (Assessment Year 2020–21) ends on December 31, 2020, while the same for taxpayers whose accounts require to be audited is January 31, 2021.
Giving a comparative analysis of the ITRs filed, the Income Tax department said 4.51 crore ITRs were filed till August 28, 2019, compared to 4,36,62,150 returns filed till December 28, 2020.
Till December 28, 2020, the number of tax returns for fiscal 2019–20 filed by companies have gone up, while those filed by individuals have dropped, possibly indicating a drop in income.
The due date has been extended from July 31 and October 31, 2020, respectively in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the close of deadline for filing ITR without payment of late fees for fiscal 2018–19 (assessment year 2019–20), over 5.65 crore returns were filed by taxpayers. The deadline last year was extended till August 31, 2019.
CBSE Class 10, 12 Board Exams 2021 dates, time, syllabus, admit cards: Latest updates
Union Education Minister Pokhriyal recently took to Twitter to declare that he will announce the dates for CBSE Board Exams 2021 on December 31.
Amid rising speculations over CBSE Class 10, 12 Board Exams 2021 dates, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal recently took to Twitter to declare that he will announce the dates for CBSE Class 10, 12 Board Exams 2021 on December 31 at 6:00 PM.
“I will announce the date when the exams will commence for students appearing for CBSE board exams in 2021 on 6 pm on December 31,” tweeted Pokhriyal.
Attention Students & Parents!
Union Minister of Education Shri will announce the date when the exams will commence for students appearing for #CBSE board exams in 2021.
Follow the twitter handle ‘ to stay updated! pic.twitter.com/Qa4UzRyqO5
— Ministry of Education () December 26, 2020
Few weeks ago, it was announced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) that CBSE Class 10, 12 Board Exams 2021 will not be held in January or February. The CBSE had also announced that Class 10, 12 Board exams will be conducted in offline mode and not as online examinations.
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CBSE Class 10, 12 Board Exam datesheet would be available for download on the official website of CBSE (cbse.nic.in) after the announcement of datesheet by Union Minister Pokhriyal.
Earlier, the CBSE had released the syllabus for CBSE Class 10, 12 Board exams 2021 after deleting certain portions from the previous syllabus. The CBSE has reduced the syllabus of all subjects up to 30%. The details of the reduced syllabus are provided online and the CBSE has suggested students to check the reduced syllabus wile preparing for the Board exams 2021.
It is expected that CBSE will release CBSE Admit Card 2021 for the upcoming CBSE Board Exams 2021 after the board will release CBSE Date Sheet 2021 for 10th & 12th. The admit card is an important documents required to get the entry in Central Board of Secondary Examination centre.
It is to be noted that the admit cards for CBSE regular students are provided by schools, while private students of CBSE have to download their admit cards from the official website. But it seems that some changes would be seen this year due to coronavirus pandemic.
Pokhriyal had interacted online with students few weeks ago to address their concerns over CBSE Class 10, 12 Board exams dates and had made it clear that the CBSE Board Exams will not be canceled. The minister, however, assured the students that they will get enough time to prepare for the CBSE Class 10, 12 Board Exams. Pokhriyal had also suggested the students to prepare for the exams.
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