China Is Scrubbing Outspoken Taiwan and Hong Kong Celebrities from Its Streaming Services
Zheping Huang, QUARTZ
China has allegedly blacklisted over four dozen overseas celebrities, including several high-profile singers from Taiwan and Hong Kong who have expressed political views unfavorable to Beijing, another sign that China is tightening control over the cultural industry. The blacklist, reportedly issued by the Ministry of Culture, demands Chinese entertainment companies not to engage 55 celebrities from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and other places. Many people on the list had shown support to pro-democracy movements in the past, including Hong Kong’s Occupy protests and Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement of 2014.
Guilty by Association: China Targets Relatives of Dissident Exiled in Canada
Nathan Vanderklippe, THE GLOBE AND MAIL
On the last day of 2016 in Beijing, Xie Cangqiong was suddenly arrested on charges of embezzlement and his family has been unable to locate his whereabouts. His family believes his real crime in the eyes of Chinese authorities is being the son of Xie Weidong, 60, a former Supreme People’s Court Justice who moved to Canada in 2014 and has been an outspoken critic of China’s justice system. Chinese authorities increasingly have targeted relatives of dissidents, as government attempts to quash dissent and corruption test the limits of old methods of asserting control, such as jailing and sometimes torturing those accused of crimes.
Obama Ending Special Immigration Status for Migrants Fleeing Cuba
Karen DeYoung, THE WASHINGTON POST
The Obama administration, in one of its final foreign policy initiatives, on Thursday ended the special status accorded migrants fleeing Cuba who, upon reaching this country, were automatically allowed to stay. Cubans are still covered by the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which grants them permanent residency—a green card—after they have been here for one year. Until now, they were given temporary “parole” status while waiting for that year to pass. That will no longer be granted, making the act moot for most by denying them entry on arrival.
Prominent Cuban Dissidents Detained by State Security Agents
Mimi Whitefield, THE MIAMI HERALD
Cuban dissident Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, recipient of the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, was taken into custody by police and state security agents Wednesday morning in Havana and briefly detained. Miami-based Inspire America Foundation, a super PAC that supports pro-democracy leaders and policies in Cuba and the Americas, said Biscet, a former political prisoner, was picked up outside his Havana home by four police operatives and two state security agents and put into a patrol car. By Wednesday afternoon, he was released with a warning about his activities, said Inspire America founder Marcell Felipe, who spoke with Biscet via telephone.
Nigeria Snubs Taiwan as China Pledges $40 Billion Investment
Brendan Scott and Ting Shi and Yinka Ibukun, BLOOMBERG
Nigeria ordered Taiwan to move its trade mission from the capital, Abuja, to the commercial hub, Lagos, following a visit by the Chinese foreign minister during which his government pledged to invest $40 billion into infrastructure in Africa’s most populous country. Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama announced the move Wednesday after meeting with Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said. China has said it will invest $40 billion in Nigerian infrastructure projects, presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said by phone from Abuja Thursday, without giving further details. Onyeama said Taiwan would stop enjoying privileges because it wasn’t a country recognized under international law, Xinhua said.
Ukraine Bans Broadcasts of Independent Russian TV Station Dozhd
Christopher Miller, RADIO FREE EUROPE
Ukraine has banned the prominent independent Russian television station Dozhd (TV Rain) from broadcasting in the country after a report identifying the boundary between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine as the Ukrainian-Russian border angered authorities in Kyiv. Russia seized control of Crimea in 2014, but Kyiv and most of the rest of the world continue to consider the Black Sea peninsula part of Ukraine.
C-Span Online Broadcast Interrupted by Russia Today
Jonah Engel Bromwich, THE NEW YORK TIMES
An online C-Span broadcast from the House floor was interrupted on Thursday by a broadcast from Russia Today, an English-language network controlled by the Russian government. C-Span said in a statement that it presumed the switch, which occurred in the middle of a speech by Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, had been a technical error. The Russian network was implicated in a declassified intelligence report that accused the Russian government of meddling in the United States presidential election.
Venezuela Arrests Anti-Maduro Politicians in Sweep
Diego Oré and Alexandra Ulmer, REUTERS
Venezuela rounded up a dissident former general and two other regional politicians on Thursday in what the opposition called a wave of repression by socialist President Nicolás Maduro’s government. With its popularity falling during a brutal economic crisis, Maduro’s government cast the arrests as part of a crackdown against “terrorists” and coup plotters. Authorities put ex-general Raul Baduel, who was first jailed in 2009 for six years, back behind bars on accusations of breaking parole conditions by conspiring against the government.