China Says it Has Stopped Harvesting Organs, but Evidence Belies Its Claim
Wendy Rogers, THE HUFFINGTON POST
The Chinese government has claimed the country no longer harvests organs from prisoners. But recent revelations about two leading Chinese researchers indicate this may not be true. In 2005, China publicly stated what many already believed: that its transplant system was built on harvesting organs from criminals sentenced to death (“executed prisoners”). According to declarations by officials, this practice has been banned since January 2015, with organs now sourced from volunteer citizen donors.But recent events challenge this somewhat rosy picture of organ donation and transplantation reform in China.
China Sees Rising Number of Rights Activists Charged With Political “Crimes”
RADIO FREE ASIA
The number of people detained and otherwise persecuted by the ruling Chinese Communist Party for “political crimes” rose last year, as the administration of Party Leader Xi Jinping brought a draconian suite of new laws that limit people’s right to freedom of expression, association and religious belief, according to a new report. During 2016, the government has increasingly targeted civil society and defenders of human rights, criminalizing their activities as “political” threats to “national security,” the overseas based Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network said in its annual report.
Tibetan Protester Detained, Missing in Serthar
RADIO FREE ASIA
A young Tibetan protester detained last month in southwestern China’s Sichuan province is still missing after more than 40 days in custody, Tibetan sources say. Sonam Tashi, 20, was seized by police in Sichuan’s Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county on January 5 after staging a solitary protest in the county town, former political prisoner Golog Jigme told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking from Switzerland and citing sources in Serthar.
Cuba, Vietnam Parliaments Strengthen Ties
President of the National Assembly of People’s Power (ANPP) of Cuba, Esteban Lazo, and vice president of the Vietnamese parliament, Tong Thi Phong, ratified here the desire to strengthen the ties between the two institutions. When they met at the Parliament Headquarters the parties highlighted the excellent relations between the two parliaments and their willingness to continue to increase them.
North Korean Missile Threat Could Prove Trump’s First Major Foreign Test
Clay Dillow, CNBC.COM
Experts say a North Korean ballistic missile test conducted over the weekend was likely not the first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, capable of threatening North America—a test North Korean media has said could come at any time. But Sunday morning’s test launch, which came as US President Donald J. Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Palm Beach, Florida, marks a significant step forward for North Korea’s ballistic missile program, including the reported use of more modern solid-fueled rocket engines that could make North Korean nuclear-capable rockets increasingly difficult to track and target on the ground.
Rights Groups Condemn Trial Of Crimean Journalist Critical Of Russia
RADIO FREE TODAY
More than two dozen human rights groups have expressed “outrage” over the impending trial of Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena, an RFE/RL contributor who angered Moscow over his reporting in the Russian-controlled Ukrainian region of Crimea. “The Russian government is preparing a new act of political retaliation against those who dare to criticize Russian actions on the Crimean Peninsula, which was seized by Russia in 2014 and violated international law,” the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP), which unites 27 human rights groups, said on February 16.
Trump: Rubio and I Have “Very Similar Views on Cuba”
Nora Gamez Torres, MIAMI HERALD
President Donald Trump said during a press conference Thursday that he shares Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s views on Cuba. “We had dinner with Senator Rubio and his wife, who was by the way, is lovely, and we had a very good discussion about Cuba because we have very similar views on Cuba,” Trump told journalists. The comment suggests a possible change in Cuba policy since Rubio was one of the staunchest critics of former President Barack Obama’s engagement with Cuba, especially in the area of human rights.
Venezuela Opposition Parties Fear Election Ban as Socialists Dig in
Brian Ellsworth, REUTERS
Venezuela’s government is pushing forward with measures that could exclude some opposition political parties from future elections, potentially paving the way for the ruling Socialists to remain in power despite widespread anger over the country’s collapsing economy. The Supreme Court, loyal to socialist President Nicolás Maduro, has ordered the main opposition parties to “renew” themselves through petition drives whose conditions are so strict that party leaders and even an election official described them as impossible to meet.