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Lawbreakers to Lawmakers? The ‘Criminal Candidates’ Standing in India’s Election

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has one unwanted lead in this month’s general election race – according to data from an electoral watchdog it is fielding the most candidates among the major parties who are facing criminal charges. Its main rival, Congress, is just a step behind.

Election laws allow such candidates to run so long as they have not been convicted, on grounds both of fairness and because India’s criminal justice system moves so slowly that trials can take years, or even decades, to be resolved.

Still, the number of such candidates accused of offenses ranging from murder to rioting has been rising with each election.

Analysts say political parties turn to them because they often have the deepest pockets in steadily costlier elections, and that some local strongmen are seen as having the best chance of winning.

Nearly one-in-five candidates running for parliament in the current election has an outstanding criminal case against them, inching up from 17% in the previous election and 15% in 2009, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-profit organization that analyzed candidates’ declarations.

The data shows that 40% candidates from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP face criminal charges, including crimes against women and murder, followed by the Congress party at 39%.

Among the smaller parties, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has an even higher proportion, with 58 percent of its candidates embroiled in criminal cases.

Polls have suggested that the BJP and its allies lead the race to win the mammoth, staggered election that began last month and ends on Sunday. Votes will be counted on Thursday.

​”Parties only think about winnability and they know that money power and muscle power of such candidates ensures that win,” said Anil Verma, head of the ADR.

With 240 cases against him, K Surendran of the BJP tops the list of candidates with the most outstanding criminal complaints that include rioting, criminal trespass and attempted murder.

He said most of the cases stem from his involvement in theBJP campaign to oppose the entry of women and girls of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple in his home state of Kerala.

“I understand that an outsider might feel that I am a grave offender but, in reality, I am completely innocent of these charges,” he said. “It was all politically motivated.”

Dean Kuriakose from the Congress party has 204 criminal cases against him, the second highest, the data showed. Most of the cases were related to a political agitation against the ruling Communist Party in Kerala, which turned violent.

He was not available for comment. But a party spokesman said Kuriakose was innocent. “He was falsely charged by the police under influence from Kerala government,” the spokesman said. 

Political analysts say that often people vote for candidates who face criminal charges because they are seen as best placed to deliver results. In some parts of India local strongmen mediate in disputes and dispense justice.

“Powerful people, even if criminals, offer a kind of parallel system of redressal,” said K.C. Suri, a professor of political science at the University of Hyderabad.

A separate ADR survey of more than 250,000 voters last year found 98% felt candidates with criminal backgrounds should not be in parliament, though 35% said they were willing to vote for such a candidate on caste grounds or if the candidate had done “good work” in the past.

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Australian Leader Says 2 Rwandans No Longer Massacre Suspects

Australia’s prime minister said on Friday that two Rwandan refugees who resettled in Australia after 15 years in U.S. detention are no longer suspects in the massacre of eight tourists in Uganda 20 years ago.

U.S. news outlet Politico reported that former Hutu rebels Leonidas Bimenyimana and Gregoire Nyaminani spent more than a decade in a Virginia state jail before Australia accepted them last year. The transfer was part of a refugee swap deal in which the United States agreed to resettle up to 1,250 refugees who Australia banishes to immigration camps on the poor Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said both men had been cleared of suspicion in the ax and machete slayings of four Britons, two Americans and two New Zealanders who were in a Ugandan wild park in 1999 to see mountain gorillas.

“These specific allegations were reviewed by our security agencies and by our immigration authorities and they were not found to be upheld,” Morrison said. “As a result, they were allowed to come to Australia.”

The questions over the potential threat posed by the refugees are embarrassing for a conservative government that is running for reelection on Saturday on a platform of tougher policies on border protection than their center-left Labor Party opponents. The government argues that Labor would allow criminals who traveled to Australia by boat without documentation to stay as refugees.

Morrison said both men had undergone security and character assessments as well as investigations into whether they were associated with war crimes.

Morrison said: “I know what the claims are. But the claims and facts are different.”

Relatives of the massacre victims are angry with the deal.

DeAnne Haubner Norton’s older brother Rob Haubner, 48, and sister-in-law Susan Miller, 42, were both senior executives of Intel Corp. from Oregon who were killed during their honeymoon.

Haubner Norton told Australian Broadcasting Corp. the refugee swap deal was “clearly bad and a dud.”

The two Rwandans “say, `I don’t want to go to Rwanda; I don’t want them to hurt me,”‘ Haubner Norton said. “Well, my brother was probably saying the same thing as [they] were taking a weapon to him.”

Scottish-born Australian David Roberts’ 23-year-old son Steven Roberts was also killed. The son was a British citizen who lived in the Australian city of Melbourne.

The father, who lives in the Australian city of Perth, called for whoever wins the election to review the decision to allow the Rwandans to settle in Australia.

Roberts said he found it hard to believe that Australia would accept two men with such serious allegations against them in return for refugees held on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island who have no criminal pasts.

“The people they had on Manus Island were innocent people, they weren’t criminals or murderers,” Roberts said.

Senior Labor lawmaker Tony Burke said that if his party wins the election, his government would seek immediate briefings from security agencies “to find out what on earth has happened.”

 

 After the 1999 massacre, U.S. prosecutors charged the men under terrorism statutes, extradited them from Rwanda and demanded federal deaths penalties. But a Washington judge ruled in 2006 that the men’s confessions were obtained through torture in Rwandan detention and the case was dropped.

 

 The men had previously admitted to being members of the Congo-based Liberation Army of Rwanda, which has since changed its name to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda _ a rebel group consisting of former Hutu militiamen and soldiers responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and which continued to fight against the Tutsi-dominated government in Kigali. It is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S.

 Both men fought against being returned to Rwanda, but did not have a right to remain in the United States.

 

 Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced at former U.S. President Barack Obama’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in 2016 that Australia would participate in the U.S.-led program to resettle Central American refugees from a camp in Costa Rica. Australia also increased its refugee intake by 5,000 to 18,750 a year.

 

 It later became apparent that Obama had agreed to accept Australia’s refugees who by then had been languishing on the Pacific islands for three years.

 

 President Donald Trump reluctantly agreed to honor the deal, which he described as “dumb,” when he took office in 2017. But Trump promised the refugees would be subject to “extreme vetting” before they were accepted by the United States.

 

 Fewer than 500 refugees have since found new homes in the United States under the deal.

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After Huawei Blow, China Says US Must Show Sincerity for Talks

The United States must show sincerity if it is to hold meaningful trade talks, China said on Friday, after U.S. President Donald Trump dramatically raised

the stakes with a potentially devastating blow to Chinese tech giant Huawei.

China has yet to say whether or how it will retaliate against the latest escalation in trade tension, although state media has taken an increasingly strident tone, with the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily publishing a front-page commentary that evoked the patriotic spirit of past wars.

China’s currency slid to its weakest in almost five months, although losses were capped after sources told Reuters that the central bank would ensure the yuan did not weaken past the key 7-per-dollar level in the immediate term.

The world’s two largest economies are locked in an increasingly acrimonious trade dispute that has seen them level escalating tariffs on each other’s imports in the midst of negotiations, adding to fears about risks to global growth and knocking financial markets.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, asked about state media reports suggesting there would be no more U.S.-China trade talks, said China always encouraged resolving disputes between the two countries with dialog and consultations.

“But because of certain things the U.S. side has done during the previous China-U.S. trade consultations, we believe if there is meaning for these talks, there must be a show of sincerity,” he told a daily news briefing.

The United States should observe the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and they must also keep their word, Lu said, without elaborating.

On Thursday, Washington put telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, one of China’s biggest and most successful companies, on a blacklist that could make it extremely difficult for the telecom giant to do business with U.S. companies.

That followed Trump’s decision on May 5 to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, a major escalation after the two sides appeared to have been close to reaching a deal in negotiations to end their trade battle.

‘Wheel of destiny’

China can be expected to make preparations for a longer-term trade war with the United States, said a Chinese government official with knowledge of the situation.

“Indeed, this is an important moment, but not an existential, live-or-die moment,” the official said.

“In the short term, the trade situation between China and the United States will be severe, and there will be challenges. Neither will it be smooth in the long run. This will spur China to make adequate preparations in the long term.”

The impact of trade friction on China’s economy is “controllable,” the state planner said on Friday, pledging to take countermeasures as needed, Meng Wei, a spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC), told a media briefing.

The South China Morning Post, citing an unidentified source, reported that a senior member of China’s ruling Communist Party said the trade war with the United States could reduce China’s 2019 growth by 1 percentage point in the worst-case scenario.

Wang Yang, the fourth-most senior member of the Communist Party’s seven-member Standing Committee, the top decision-making body, told a delegation of Taiwan businessmen on Thursday that the trade war would have an impact but would not lead to any structural changes, the paper said, citing an unidentified source who was at the meeting.

One company that says it has been making preparations is Huawei’s Hisilicon unit, which purchases U.S. semiconductors for its parent.

Its president told staff in a letter on Friday that the company had been secretly developing back-up products for years in case Huawei was one day unable to obtain the advanced chips and technology it buys from the United States.

“Today, the wheel of destiny has turned and we have arrived at this extreme and dark moment, as a super-nation ruthlessly disrupts the world’s technology and industry system,” the company president said in the letter.

The letter was widely shared on Chinese social media, gaining 180 million impressions in the few hours after it was published on the Weibo microblogging site.

“Go Huawei! Our country’s people will always support you,” wrote one Weibo user after reading the letter.

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Trade Tensions Seen Tightening Job Market for Chinese Graduates

A record number of 8.34 million university graduates are set to enter the Chinese job market this summer amid escalating trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Observers say that as China’s export-dependent economy braces for more hits from tariff hikes, which U.S. President Donald Trump recently imposed, the country’s job markets will be tighter for everyone including fresh graduates.

And the impact of a job mismatch among college graduates has long weighed on their actual employment rate at only 52% this year, according to a recent survey.

That means more than 4 million graduates will soon join the ranks of those unemployed, although many of them may opt to pursue higher education, the survey found.

Tightening job market

“Graduate employment has always been problematic in China. Given the current situation with the trade war, I think we should expect it to be even more so this year,” said Geoffrey Crothall, spokesperson at China Labor Bulletin.

“And there’s always been a mismatch between the expectations of graduates, the reality of the job markets and particularly the expectations of employers,” he added.

Graduates will either take longer to find a job or settle with one that has lower pay or poor career prospects, Crothall said.

Making matters worse, the number of job opportunities in China is on the wane as China tries to move away from labor-intensive industries, said Wang Zhangcheng, head of the Labor Economics Institute at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law.

“The transformation of industrial structure and the U.S.-China trade war [is making the situation worse]. Also, China’s economy no longer grows at a fast pace. Instead, it has matured with mid- to low-paced growths. Under such circumstances, the demand for labor has declined,” Wang said.

“Plus, many jobs have been replaced by robots as a result of the development of artificial intelligence in the past two years. That surely adds pressure on job seekers,” he added.

Fewer jobs, more seekers

A recent report by Renmin University of China (RUC) and career platform Zhaopin.com found that the number of job seekers in China grew 31% year-on-year in the first quarter – the highest growth in workers since 2011 — while the number of job vacancies shrank by 11% at the same time.

China’s job market prosperity index has dropped to a record low since 2014, it concluded.

However, the latest available state statistics paint a slightly different picture.

Official data showed that China’s surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.2% in March, down 0.1 percentage points from February.

Analysts described the country’s job markets as “stable overall” although the surveyed unemployment rate in 31 major cities went up 0.1 percentage points month-on-month, to 5.1% in March – the highest since late 2016.

Still, China’s State Council has made “saving jobs” one of its top policy priorities since late last year, offering incentives for firms with no or few layoffs and subsidies for internships or on-the-job training.

And college graduates remain a focal point of the council’s employment stabilization plan, along with migrants and laid-off workers.

Distorted graduate employment

China used to boast a graduate employment rate of more than 90% as universities rushed graduates to sign so-called “tripartite employment agreements” with potential employers.

Any refusal may risk their chances of thesis defense or diplomas.

Such agreements are nonbinding on the employers to offer jobs, but distort the overall graduate employment rate, which has allowed universities to attract new students – a fraud that the Ministry of Education now forbids.

In a recent notice, the ministry has disallowed universities from withholding graduates’ degree certificates if they refuse to sign such agreements.

In spite of the ban, graduates still complain about “being forcefully employed.”

On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging platform, one user wrote, “Our school still forces you to sign the agreements. The career adviser calls every day, pulling a long face.”

Another student from Rizhao Polytechnic in Shandong province noted, “Those who have signed the agreements have completed their thesis defense while many of us who haven’t signed the agreements can do nothing but wait.”

One user urged that unless the government writes the ban into law and imposes penalties, no universities would comply.

Job mismatch

Another cause of concern for graduate employment is the long-standing mismatch between the knowledge and skills students have acquired from years of studies in universities, and the private sector’s actual job requirements, professor Wang said.

Given the shifts of production paradigms and “widening structural gaps in labor forces allocations, many of our universities have set up professional courses which may not keep up with the changing [requirements] of the labor markets. That leads to the scenario that many graduates may not find the right career fit for their skills,” the professor said.

As a solution, the education ministry has encouraged universities to focus on fundamentals by providing multifaceted cultivation of talents, so graduates leaving school will meet what different jobs require.

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China Diplomat Confirms Limits on Ramadan in Xinjiang

A Chinese official denies allegations by activists that China’s government is blocking Muslim religious practices in the restive Xinjiang region during the holy month of Ramadan.

A Chinese diplomat in neighboring Pakistan said Beijing has put only partial restrictions on Ramadan activities, not a total ban on fasting by the Uighur minority in Xinjiang.

“There’s no blanket ban. That’s Western propaganda,” Lijian Zhao, the deputy chief of mission at China’s embassy in Islamabad, told VOA.

Zhao said that Xinjiang residents were free to fast during Ramadan and that restrictions were limited to those with official responsibilities to ensure their religious practices did not interfere with their public duties.

“Restrictions are with the Communist Party members, who are atheists; government officials, who shall discharge their duties; and students who are with compulsory education and hard learning tasks,” he said.

The official’s comments come as human rights activists and Uighur advocacy groups have expressed concern about the Chinese government’s widening its repression of thousands of Uighurs as they joined millions of Muslims from around the world to fast during Ramadan, which began May 5 and continues for a month.

​Tougher restrictions

Dolkun Isa, the head of the Germany-based World Uighur Congress, told VOA that Uighurs who are working in the public sector and students are asked to appear daily at canteens during lunch or they will be accused of secretly fasting and hiding “extremist” tendencies.

Disputing Zhao’s assertion that the restrictions were limited, the exiled Uighur leader Isa said government workers were also forced to take home food and share with their family members. Other common Muslim practices, such as attending prayer and wearing a headscarf, are also banned for local residents.

“In some cases, Uighur employees are forced to take home pork and ordered to share with their families,” said Isa. “The restrictions on Ramadan have been in place every year since 2016, but they are especially hard this year.”

Separatist movement

The vast region of deserts and mountains in the northwest is home to nearly 22 million people and has the greatest concentration of Muslims in China, estimated to be about 11 million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities.

Conflict in the region is not new. The Chinese government has for decades suppressed a separatist movement by Uighurs to establish an independent state called East Turkestan. Uighurs accuse the government of forcing demographic changes by settling millions of Han Chinese in the region.

The government in Beijing has in recent years faced growing international condemnation over the detention of more than a million minority Uighurs and other Muslims in so-called re-education camps.

​Detention camps

Earlier this month, Randall Schriver, who leads Asia policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, said that the estimated number of detainees could be “closer to 3 million citizens.”

“The Communist Party is using the security forces for mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps,” Schriver said at a Pentagon briefing.

The term “concentration camps” is generally associated with the death camps operated by Nazi Germany in 1940s.

Chinese officials, however, say that their measures in Xinjiang are needed to combat the threat of terrorism and that the camps are nothing but vocational training centers. They are asking the U.S. to “stop interfering” in their domestic affairs.

“We urge the relevant U.S. individual to respect the fact, abandon bias, exercise prudence in words and deeds, stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs, and earnestly contribute to mutual trust and cooperation between us,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang at a press briefing last week.

Shuang said their measures at “vocational and educational training institutions” operate according to law and they endorse all ethnic group members with “positive social effects.”

Anti-terror law

In December 2015, China passed its controversial anti-terror law, which according to Human Rights Watch gave government agencies “enormous discretionary powers.”

The government’s April 2017 regulations to “prevent extremism” drew international outcry, with critics saying they violated basic human rights and religious freedom.

According to the state-run newspaper China Daily, the regulations forbid people in the region from wearing full-face coverings and long beards. They also prohibit them from “choosing names in an abnormal way” or “rejecting or refusing state products and services that include radio and television programming.”

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Taiwan to Vote on Formal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage

Taiwanese legislators are scheduled to decide Friday on legalizing same-sex marriage, marking a potential first in Asia.

 

Lawmakers pressured over the past two years by LGBT groups as well as church organizations opposed to same-sex marriage will choose between bills that broadly legalize the unions and give couples many of the tax, insurance and child custody benefits available to male-female married couples.

 

If the legal changes are approved, Taiwan would become the first place in Asia with a comprehensive law supporting same-sex marriage.

 

Taiwan’s Constitutional Court in May 2017 said the constitution allows same-sex marriages and gave parliament two years to adjust laws accordingly.

 

The court order mobilized LGBT advocacy groups pushing for fair treatment, as well as opponents among church groups and advocates of traditional Chinese family values.

 

“It’s a breakthrough, I have to say so. I could not imagine that could happen in just a few years,” said Shiau Hong-chi, professor of gender studies and communications management at Shih-Hsin University in Taiwan.

 

Religion, conservative family values and political systems that discourage LGBT activism have stopped momentum in Asian countries from China through much of Southeast Asia into the Middle East. Thailand, however, is exploring the legalization of same-sex civil partnerships.

 

Taiwan’s acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships began in the 1990s when leaders in today’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party championed the cause to help Taiwan stand out in Asia as an open society. Although claimed by China as its own territory, Taiwan is a self-governing democracy with a vibrant civil society.

 

Opponents have raised fears of incest, insurance benefit scams and children confused by having two mothers or two fathers. Both sides of the issue have held colorful street demonstrations and lobbied lawmakers.

 

In November 2018, a majority of Taiwan voters rejected same-sex marriage in an advisory referendum.

 

Bills on the table Friday include one authored by the government. Another version plays to both sides of the debate by allowing marriages but with conditions such as calling them “unions” and imposing restrictions on adopting children.

 

“If it doesn’t go through, that would be disappointing,” said Hsu Pei-chieh, 30, a Taipei office worker hoping to marry her female partner and raise at least one child. “If we’re married it would be easier for the outside world to understand us.”

 

Opinion surveys in 2012 and 2015 found that slight majorities of Taiwanese backed legalizing same-sex marriage.

 

A defeat for the bill in the legislature on Friday would allow the Constitutional Court order to proceed, effective May 24. Same-sex couples could register their marriages then with local governments, but without guarantees of the legal benefits given to male-female couples.

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Chinese-American Pei, Famed Architect, Dies at 102

I.M. Pei, the versatile, globe-trotting architect who revived the Louvre with a giant glass pyramid and captured the spirit of rebellion at the multi-shaped Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has died at age 102.

 

Pei’s death was confirmed Thursday by Marc Diamond, a spokesman for Pei’s New York architectural firm, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

 

Pei’s works ranged from the trapezoidal addition to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to the chiseled towers of the National Center of Atmospheric Research that blend in with the reddish mountains in Boulder, Colorado.

 

His buildings added elegance to landscapes worldwide with their powerful geometric shapes and grand spaces. Among them are the striking steel and glass Bank of China skyscraper in Hong Kong and the Fragrant Hill Hotel near Beijing. His work spanned decades, starting in the late 1940s and continuing through the new millennium. Two of his last major projects, the Museum of Islamic Art, located on an artificial island just off the waterfront in Doha, Qatar, and the Macau Science Center, in China, opened in 2008 and 2009.

 

Pei painstakingly researched each project, studying its use and relating it to the environment. But he also was interested in architecture as art — and the effect he could create.

 

“At one level my goal is simply to give people pleasure in being in a space and walking around it,” he said. “But I also think architecture can reach a level where it influences people to want to do something more with their lives. That is the challenge that I find most interesting.”

 

Pei, who as a schoolboy in Shanghai was inspired by its building boom in the 1930s, immigrated to the United States and studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. He advanced from his early work of designing office buildings, low-income housing and mixed-used complexes to a worldwide collection of museums, municipal buildings and hotels.

 

He fell into a modernist style blending elegance and technology, creating crisp, precise buildings.

 

His big break was in 1964, when he was chosen over many prestigious architects, such as Louis Kahn and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, to design the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Boston.

 

At the time, Jacqueline Kennedy said all the candidates were excellent, “But Pei! He loves things to be beautiful.” The two became friends.

 

A slight, unpretentious man, Pei developed a reputation as a skilled diplomat, persuading clients to spend the money for his grand-scale projects and working with a cast of engineers and developers.

 

Some of his designs were met with much controversy, such as the 71-foot faceted glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre museum in Paris. French President Francois Mitterrand, who personally selected Pei to oversee the decaying, overcrowded museum’s renovation, endured a barrage of criticism when he unveiled the plan in 1984.

 

Many of the French vehemently opposed such a change to their symbol of their culture, once a medieval fortress and then a national palace. Some resented that Pei, a foreigner, was in charge.

 

But Mitterrand and his supporters prevailed and the pyramid was finished in 1989. It serves as the Louvre’s entrance, and a staircase leads visitors down to a vast, light-drenched lobby featuring ticket windows, shops, restaurants, an auditorium and escalators to other parts of the vast museum.

 

“All through the centuries, the Louvre has undergone violent change,” Pei said. “The time had to be right. I was confident because this was the right time.”

 

Another building designed by Pei’s firm — the John Hancock Tower in Boston — had a questionable future in the early 1970s when dozens of windows cracked and popped out, sending glass crashing to the sidewalks, during the time the building was under construction.

 

A flurry of lawsuits followed among the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co., the glass manufacturer, and Pei’s firm. A settlement was reached in 1981.

 

No challenge seemed to be too great for Pei, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which sits on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Pei, who admitted he was just catching up with the Beatles, researched the roots of rock `n’ roll and came up with an array of contrasting shapes for the museum. He topped it off with a transparent tent-like structure, which was “open — like the music,” he said.

 

In 1988, President Reagan honored him with a National Medal of Arts. He also won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, 1983, and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, 1979. President George H.W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992.

 

Pei officially retired in 1990 but continued to work on projects. Two of his sons, Chien Chung Pei and Li Chung Pei, former members of their father’s firm, formed Pei Partnership Archiitects in 1992. Their father’s firm, previously I.M. Pei and Partners, was renamed Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

 

The museum in Qatar that opened in 2008 was inspired by Islamic architectural history, especially the 9th century mosque of Ahmed ibn Tulun in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. It was established by the tiny, oil-rich nation to compete with rival Persian Gulf countries for international attention and investment.

 

Ieoh Ming Pei (pronounced YEE-oh ming pay) was born April 26, 1917, in Canton, China, the son of a banker. He later said, “I did not know what architecture really was in China. At that time, there was no difference between an architect, a construction man, or an engineer.”

 

Pei came to the United States in 1935 with plans to study architecture, then return to practice in China. However, World War II and the revolution in China prevented him from coming back.

 

During the war, Pei worked for the National Defense Research Committee. As an “expert” in Japanese construction, his job was to determine the best way to burn down Japanese towns. “It was awful,” he later said.

 

In 1948, New York City real estate developer William Zeckendorf hired Pei as his director of architecture. During this period, Pei worked on many large urban projects and gained experience in areas of building development, economics and construction.

 

Some of his early successes included the Mile High Center office building in Denver, the Kips Bay Plaza Apartments in Manhattan, and the Society Hill apartment complex in Philadelphia.

 

Pei established his own architectural firm in 1955, a year after he became a U.S. citizen. He remained based in New York City. Among the firm’s accomplishments are the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

 

Pei’s wife, Eileen, who he married in 1942, died in 2014. A son, T’ing Chung, died in 2003. Besides sons Chien Chung Pei and Li Chung Pei, he is survived by a daughter, Liane.

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Consumers Start to Feel Pinch From US, China Trade Standoff