China Expands Recall of Passports to Uyghurs Outside of Xinjiang
Authorities in China have expanded a recall of passports from Uyghurs residing within the northwest region of Xinjiang to include members of the ethnic groups throughout the country, according to sources. Since October 2016, the Public Security Bureau (PSB) in Xinjiang has issued a series of notices ordering Uyghur residents outside the province to hand over their passports. According to the notices, if the passports were not submitted by a specific deadline, they would become “invalid,” and “further action will be taken” against the holder.
China’s Foreign Influence Operations Are Causing Alarm In Washington
Josh Rogin, WaPo
Washington is waking up to the huge scope and scale of Chinese Communist Party influence operations inside the United States, which permeate American institutions of all kinds. China’s overriding goal is, at the least, to defend its authoritarian system from attack and at most to export it to the world at America’s expense. Beijing’s strategy is first to cut off critical discussion of China’s government, then to co-opt American influencers in order to promote China’s narrative.
EU “Deeply Troubled” By China’s Human Rights Record
The European Union delegation to China said Friday, December 8, it was “extremely concerned” about the denial to Chinese citizens of “fundamental” human rights. “During the past year, we have been deeply troubled by the deterioration of the situation with respect to freedom of information and freedom of expression and association, including with respect to online activity,” it said. The statement comes days before the International Human Rights Day on December 10, and as Beijing ramps up its crackdown on civil society, targeting everyone from lawyers to celebrity gossip bloggers.
Can A New President In Cuba Win Over Trump And End The Castro Era?
Nicole Rodriguez, Newsweek
Cuban President Raul Castro’s enigmatic heir apparent is a rumored Beatles fan who reportedly once grew his hair long during the rise of Western pop music. He’s pushed for improved internet connectivity on the island essentially frozen in time since the 1960s and advocated for gay rights. But the chances Miguel Diaz-Canel, Cuba’s vice president who is expected to take the reins from the Castro family in February for the first time in decades, will thaw President Donald Trump’s modern-day Cold War with the Communist-ruled country are slim. Diaz-Canel, 57, will likely serve in a largely ceremonial role as a Castro puppet controlled by the Communist Party and restricted from opening renewed dialogue with the U.S. even if he wants to, analysts say.
Sombath Somphone’s Wife Calls Again on Laos to Explain His Disappearance
The wife of disappeared Lao rural development activist Sombath Somphone called on the government of Laos on Thursday to answer questions surrounding the fate of her husband, who vanished five years ago at a police checkpoint outside the Lao capital Vientiane. “I am asking the Lao government again to tell the truth,” Ng, a resident of Singapore, said a week before the fifth anniversary of Sombath’s forced disappearance, apparently at the hands of state-linked figures. “I need to know whether he is alive or dead,” Ng said.
North Korean Academy Issues White Paper Saying Country Defended Human Rights
Ayushman Basu, International Business Times
The Human Rights Institute of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Academy of Social Sciences on Saturday issued a white paper claiming North Korea defended human rights, based on a thorough study on the human rights situation on a worldwide scale for the past nearly seven decades since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The report said: “The DPRK is a country where genuine human rights are firmly protected and successfully put into practice as the working masses’ democratic freedom and rights are most thoroughly defended and most brilliantly realized.”
Russian Artists Are Under Siege At The Bolshoi And Beyond—But Some Are Fighting Back
Anna Nemtsova, The Daily Beast
The Russian leadership has allowed non-state groups to share its monopoly on violence. When they attack artists and intellectuals, the government can say it’s not responsible. Art is one of Russia’s greatest assets, but over the weekend the nation’s artists looked like they were under siege, and some decided to fight back. On Saturday, a political protest erupted on the Kremlin’s biggest stage, the Bolshoi Theater, an enormous theater for up to 2,500 seats. That night members of the Russian government, employees of the Kremlin administration, state propagandists, and members of the business elite watched the premiere of the ballet Nureyev about the life and death of a famous Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who died of complications related to AIDS in 1993. The director, Kirill Serebrennikov, was not present at the theater, since he has been been under house arrest since August.
Stickers Mocking Solzhenitsyn Appear In Moscow Ahead Of Plaque Ceremony
Stickers insulting the late Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn appeared on a Moscow street named after the Nobel Prize-winning author a day before the unveiling of a plaque honoring his memory. Large stickers posted on walls on December 10 carry a picture of Solzhenitsyn altered to show him wearing a Nazi military hat and the words: “Literary Vlasovtsy, get out of Moscow!” “Vlasovtsy” refers to members of the so-called Russian Liberation Army, which fought under Nazi Germany’s command during World War II. The stickers also bore the logo of a group called the Revolutionary Communist Union of the Bolshevik Youth (RKSMB).
Street Outside Russian Embassy In Washington May Be Renamed For A Dissident
Emily Cochrane, NYT
American officials have waged a bitter battle with Russia after accusing Moscow of meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The fight has also hit the streets of the American capital — if only symbolically. The DC city council was considering whether to rename a block outside the Russian Embassy in honor of Mr. Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and sharp critic of President Vladimir V. Putin. Local officials listened sympathetically as Ms. Nemtsova, who flew in from Germany for the meeting, described how an impromptu shrine in Moscow to her late father, erected on a bridge just blocks from Red Square, keeps being dismantled by Russian officials. “For now, we cannot do it in Russia because of unprecedented resistance, but we have a chance to do it here,” she said. “And here, it will be difficult to dismantle.”
10,000 Attend Evangelist Prayer Rally In Hanoi
More than 10,000 Vietnamese filled a stadium in Hanoi last week for a rare Christian evangelistic event allowed by the Communist government which strictly controls religions. U.S. evangelist preacher Reverend Franklin Graham said the government only gave permission for the event in the week leading up to the prayer rally and added it took a year to organize. He told the Associated Press the Vietnamese government did not attach any conditions to the rally at the Quan Ngua Sports Stadium. “This is unprecedented really for us and for the government,” Graham said.
Former Top Vietnam Oil Executive Arrested For Violations
Vietnamese police on Friday arrested Communist Party Central Committee member Dinh La Thang on charges of economic mismanagement while serving as chairman of PetroVietnam, the main state energy firm. Thang’s arrest was the latest in a crackdown on corruption in Vietnam’s energy and banking sectors that earlier this year saw the kidnapping by Vietnamese agents of another former oil executive, Trinh Xuan Thanh, in Berlin, Germany. “Many people might believe that Dinh La Thang’s arrest comes as the result of a genuine anti-corruption campaign led by the Communist Party,” Hanoi-based civil society activist Nguyen Quang A told RFA. “This is a part of their propaganda strategy,” he said.
Vietnamese Drug Addicts Undergo “Work Therapy” While Authorities Collect Profits
During four years of compulsory rehab in Vietnam, Trung spent his drug-free days glueing together false eyelashes as part of what authorities billed as valuable “work therapy” for his heroin addiction. But critics say the work of Trung and tens of thousands of others is tantamount to forced labour that rarely helps users extinguish their addiction. Police sent Trung to a state-sponsored rehab centre on the outskirts of Hanoi, one of 132 in Vietnam, where he says he faced routine beatings from guards and hours of labour for nominal pay.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
December 11th, 1964: Che Guevara speaks before a session of the United Nations General Assembly.