Rights Website Founder Formally Arrested for Subversion in China’s Hubei
RADIO FREE ASIA
Authorities in the central Chinese province of Hubei have formally arrested Liu Feiyue, the founder of the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch website, on subversion charges, fellow activists and relatives told RFA on Wednesday. Liu was detained on Nov. 17 for “incitement to subvert state power,” by police in Hubei’s Suizhou city and placed under formal arrest on Dec. 23. Liu, a veteran rights activist who founded Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch in 2006, has been targeted for police harassment in the past, and is routinely detained or placed under house arrest during politically sensitive events.
China: Willing to Have Talks with Vatican But Catholics Must Be Patriots
China’s head of religious affairs said that Beijing is willing to have constructive dialogue with the Vatican but stressed that Catholics should “hold up high the flag of patriotism” and adapt Catholicism to Chinese society. Beijing insists that the party-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association has the authority to appoint Chinese bishops, a right that the Holy See says belongs to the pope alone. This dispute over bishop nominations is the most vexing stumbling block preventing the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.
Kim Jong-un Has Executed over 300 People Since Coming to Power
K.J. Kwon and Ben Westcott, CNN
A new report claims North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has ordered 340 people to be executed since he came to power in 2011. The Institute for National Security Strategy, a South Korean think tank, released a report on Thursday detailing how the North Korean leader uses executions to tighten his hold on power. Of those killed, about 140 were senior officers in the country’s government, military, and ruling Korean Worker’s Party.
Further Reprisals Against Russian Blogger Jailed for Posting that Crimea Is Ukraine
Halya Coynash, KHARKIV HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION GROUP
Andrei Bubeev, the Russian blogger serving a 2.5 year sentence for social network reposts of an article entitled “Crimea is Ukraine” and a picture of a toothpaste tube with the caption “Squeeze Russia out of yourself” is being moved to a prison with harsher conditions. The reasons appear to include “bad influence on other prisoners,” because he has encouraged them to read. Andrei Bubeev is one of a number of Russians placed on Russia’s “List of Extremists and Terrorists” for writing or merely reposting material on social networks critical of Russia’s invasion of Crimea and military involvement in Donbas.
US Election Hacking: Senators Call for Sanctions On Russia
Earlier this month, CIA officials told US media they had “high confidence” that Russian hackers had attempted to sway the US election in Mr. Trump’s favor. Outgoing President Barack Obama is expected to announce retaliatory measures as early as Thursday. Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and Democrat Amy Klobuchar, voiced their support for economic sanctions on Wednesday while visiting the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which are NATO members close to Russia’s western edge.
Hunger Is Driving Up Crime in Venezuela as Violence Hits New Highs, Report Says
Jim Wyss, MIAMI HERALD
Venezuela’s violence hit new peaks in 2016 amid a breakdown in the law enforcement and judicial systems and a spike in hunger-related crimes, a leading nonprofit reported Wednesday. According to the Observatory of Venezuelan Violence, or OVV, the South American nation saw at least 28,479 violent deaths this year for a total of 91.8 deaths per 100,000 residents. If the number proves accurate, Venezuela would have the second-highest homicide rate in the world after El Salvador and ahead of Honduras.
Vietnam Extends Detention for Human Rights Attorney
RADIO FREE ASIA
Vietnamese authorities extended human rights attorney Nguyen Van Dai’s time in prison until April, marking the third time the government has added time to his detention. Dai’s lawyer, Ha Huy Son, posted the government document extending his prison time on Facebook, but told RFA he has little information beyond that.