August 4th, 2017 | Victims of Communism

Victims of Communism — Memorial Foundation

August 4th, 2017


Wolf Warrior 2: The Nationalist Action Film Storming China
“Anyone who offends China will be killed no matter how far the target is.” That is the tagline for Wolf Warriors 2, the Chinese box office hit that is equal parts testosterone-fueled machismo—think blazing guns, explosions, and tanks—and chest-thumping Chinese patriotism. It sees a soldier venturing into an African warzone and saving hundreds of lives from Western baddies. It’s basically the plot of your typical Hollywood action movie, but this time it’s a Chinese man upholding justice and keeping the world safe. Following in the footsteps of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, martial arts expert Wu Jing is among a new generation of Chinese action stars turned directors. His first Wolf Warrior film came out in 2014, but it didn’t make much of an impact. Mainstream movies, especially those promoting patriotism, usually don’t do very well in China. Wolf Warrior 2, however, has become a phenomenon. The film has raked in a record 1.6bn yuan ($238m; £181m) in just one week. The massive response in China also made the film top the global box office worldwide last weekend, beating Hollywood blockbuster Dunkirk.

Pope “Loves China,” Vatican Official Says On Trip To China
Pope Francis “loves China” and the Vatican hopes China has a great future, a Chinese state-run newspaper on Friday cited a visiting Vatican official as saying, in an expression of goodwill despite strained relations between the two. Pope Francis would like to heal a decades-old rift with China, where Catholics are divided between those loyal to him and those who belong to a government-controlled official church. In June, China said it opposed outside interference in its internal affairs after the Vatican expressed concern about a Chinese bishop it said had been “removed.” Speaking in Beijing where he was attending an organ transplant conference, the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, expressed the Pope’s goodwill, the state-run Global Times reported. “Pope Francis loves China and loves the people of China, its history and population. We hope China can have a great future,” the paper quoted him as saying.

China’s Internet Censors Play A Tougher Game Of Cat And Mouse
The shutdown was unusual, and came without warning. Chinese censors tested on Thursday a new way of shutting down websites and cutting off the country’s internet users from the rest of the world. The censorship drill targeted tools that many in China use to thwart the country’s vast online censorship system, though internet companies said it also hit some sites at random. One Beijing online video company watched as its app and website went offline for about 20 minutes without warning. The way it was disconnected—the digital tether that connected its service to the rest of the internet was severed—suggested more than a mere technical outage, according to the leader of the firm’s technology team, who requested anonymity for himself and the company for fear of reprisals. Chinese officials did not comment on the test, and there was no indication that they would use the system again. But if they do, it may not be a total surprise. China has embarked on an internet campaign that signals a profound shift in the way it thinks of online censorship.


Why China Wants North Korea To Be A Nuclear Threat
If worse came to worst and North Korea detonated a nuclear warhead above Honolulu, the losses would include up to 44,000 US troops, as well as our vital bases ringing the city—beginning with Pearl Harbor. Who would benefit? The sole winner would be China—not even a party to the conflict. And that is a cardinal reason why Beijing will not help us halt Pyongyang’s nuke and missile programs. Washington has deluded itself into bipartisan groupthink yet again, desperate to believe that, if only we better explain our argument, China will turn on its most important ally, North Korea. Our folly ignores the strategic perspective entirely: We don’t even try to identify China’s ultimate goals. The central Chinese ambition is to become the dominant military (as well as economic) power in the Pacific. North Korea could fulfill that ambition for Beijing without the Chinese firing one shot.

New Zealand Denies Visas To North Korean Academics To Attend Conference
The American-led effort to isolate North Korea from all aspects of the international community has apparently spread to New Zealand, where a group of North Korean academics—including a historian, a philosopher and a linguist—were denied visas for a conference this week. The 10-member delegation from the Pyongyang-based Academy of Social Sciences were not permitted to attend the International Society for Korean Studies conference in Auckland this week. Their specialties include Korean folklore, philosophy, classical literature, history and education. There were to be accompanied by two “minders,” as is standard for North Korean groups traveling abroad.


America May Offer Ukraine Weapons To Repel Russia
When Russian members of parliament uncorked champagne to celebrate the electoral victory of Donald Trump, they hoped that America would stop meddling in the former Soviet backyard and ease sanctions imposed in response to its war in Ukraine. But as some Russians are now saying, it was too early to drink it. On August 2nd Mr. Trump reluctantly signed a law which heaps new sanctions on Russia and limits his ability to lift them. A few days earlier, Mike Pence, America’s vice-president, went to Estonia and Georgia and warned against further aggression from “your unpredictable neighbor to the east.” And America may soon supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, a step that Barack Obama refused to take.


Venezuela’s New Leaders Share A Goal: Stifle The Opposition
Nicholas Casey and Ana Vanessa Herrero, THE NEW YORK TIMES
The president’s son. The president’s wife. A radical television-show host who appears in a red military beret and broadcasts embarrassing recordings of opposition politicians secretly taped by Venezuelan intelligence agents. All are among Venezuela’s newest leaders, and the government says they will take their seats on Friday. A 545-member body, known as the constituent assembly, has been created to rewrite the nation’s Constitution and govern Venezuela with virtually unlimited authority until they finish their work. It is the culmination of an ambitious plan by the government to consolidate power. In a contentious election on Sunday, President Nicolás Maduro instructed Venezuelans to choose delegates from a list of trusted allies of the governing party. Voters were not given the option of rejecting the plan. The assembly includes representatives for Venezuelans from all walks of life. Many are neophytes who have never held political office before. But if there is one thing that seems to unite them, it is a will to stifle political dissent.

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Released From Jail
Nicole Chavez, CNN
An imprisoned political opponent of President Nicolás Maduro was released hours before Venezuela’s new legislative body plans to take office Friday. Antonio Ledezma, a former Caracas mayor, was placed back under house arrest early Friday, his wife Mitzy Capriles said in a series of tweets. The politician was detained Tuesday after his house arrest status was revoked, the Supreme Court had said. Ledezma’s release comes amid voter fraud claims, protests and the lack of support that the international community has shown Maduro since Sunday’s vote.

Organization Of American States To Hold “Urgent” Meeting Over Venezuelan Election Fraud
Sabrina Martin, THE PANAM POST
Venezuela continues to feel mounting international pressure, as Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro said this week that he is requesting an “urgent” meeting to discuss the fraudulent elections that took place Sunday. Almagro proposed that the meeting take place either next Friday, August 4 or Saturday, August 5. “This urgent request originates from the immediate need to address the worsening crisis in Venezuela caused by the illegitimate electoral process that led to the election of a National Constituent Assembly,” Almagro said in his request, which he addressed to the Chair of the Organization’s Permanent Council in Brazil.

France’s Macron Pushes For Mediation Role In Venezuela
French President Emmanuel Macron is pushing for mediation efforts in Venezuela and condemning violence amid the president’s efforts to consolidate power through a new assembly. In a statement Friday Macron decried the arrest of two top opposition members and said France will “support any mediation that would allow the resumption of credible, sincere and serious dialogue … and to end the spiral of violence.” Macron recently sent a letter to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro proposing mediation, and French Ambassador Romain Nadal has been meeting with Venezuelan government and opposition members. While some are calling for sanctions, France is hoping for a negotiated solution to the political crisis around Maduro’s leadership. Macron arranged peace talks last week between Libya’s rival leaders and has sought to raise France’s diplomatic profile since his election in May.


Germany Accuses Vietnam Of Abducting Executive From Berlin
Nadine Schmidt and Ben Westcott, CNN
A Vietnamese executive Germany says was kidnapped in Berlin has reemerged on state television in his home country. German authorities claim the former PetroVietnam Construction Company (PVC) chief was abducted by Vietnam’s secret service and has publicly condemned the kidnapping. However, in an interview broadcast on state media Thursday, Trinh Xuan Thanh said he had decided to return home to answer questions for alleged financial crimes. “During my time as a fugitive, I realized that what I had (done was) wrong. I did not think carefully. I realized that I had to return to face the truth, to admit my mistakes. My family encouraged me a lot,” he said. German authorities first announced on Wednesday an asylum seeker had been taken from Berlin back to Vietnam against his will.