Christians Severely Beaten by Communist Gangs for Protecting Church from Destruction
Stoyan Zaimov, THE CHRISTIAN POST
Christians in China’s northern Hebei province were severely beaten by gangs hired by the Communist regime after they tried to protect their church property from being destroyed. China Aid reported on Wednesday that the attack occurred last week after Communist Party officials attempted to force Fuxing Church to sign a land transfer that would require the congregation to move.
Lecturer Fired in China’s Shandong After He Criticized Chairman Mao
RADIO FREE ASIA
Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong have terminated the contract of a university lecturer who criticized late supreme leader Mao Zedong, following protests and violent attacks on campus that were blamed on members of Maoist groups. The Shandong provincial government announced on Thursday on its official social media account that it had terminated the contract of Deng Xiangchao, a professor at the Shandong Jianzhu University.
Cuba Dissidents Say Arbitrary Arrests Soared in 2016
Cuban opposition activists said Thursday that the number of arbitrary arrests of dissidents on the communist island soared to nearly 10,000 last year. “In 2016, we documented a total of 9,940 arbitrary detentions,” the highest count since 2010, the Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission (CCDHRN) said in a report. It said incidents of dissidents being forbidden from leaving their homes to demonstrate increased in the run-up to US President Barack Obama’s landmark visit to Cuba in March.
Russia’s Prisons Under Spotlight as Activist Goes Missing in System
Isabel Gorst, THE IRISH TIMES
Concern has been growing in Russia over the New Year holidays about the fate of a jailed political activist who went missing in the prison system a month ago. Ildar Dadin, who is serving a 2½-year sentence for staging a series of peaceful protests in Moscow, disappeared in Russia’s sprawling penitentiary network after claiming he had been tortured by staff at a prison in the Karelia region of northwest Russia.
Ukraine Might Ban Marine Le Pen and Her Thoughts on European Currency
Emily Tamkin, FOREIGN POLICY
Marine Le Pen may no longer be welcome in Ukraine. This is because Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front party and contender in her country’s upcoming presidential race, was quoted by French television as saying the annexation of Crimea by Russia was not illegal. “Making statements that repeat Kremlin propaganda, the French politician shows disrespect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and completely ignores the fundamental principles of international law,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a Wednesday statement. “In this regard, we remind that such statements and actions in violation of the Ukrainian legislation will necessarily have consequences, as it was in the case of certain French politicians, who are denied entry to Ukraine.”
Senator Slams Apple for Removing NYT App from Chinese iPhones
Josh Lipton, CNBC
At least one US politician is taking aim at Apple over its decision to remove The New York Times news app from its app store in China. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, slammed the company in a statement yesterday for being, in his words, “complicit in Communist censorship of an American newspaper.” Apple confirms to CNBC that it did remove both English-language and Chinese-language apps from the iTunes store late last month, and it declined to disclose what regulations, exactly, were said to have been violated or which Chinese government authority had issued the request.
Court Hearing for US Man Held in Venezuela Postponed Yet Again
Joshua Holt, the Utah man held in a Venezuelan prison since June 30th on weapon charges, had his court hearing postponed—for the fifth time. As in previous times, the judge assigned to the case simply failed to appear. A printout posted at her door read “No hay despacho,” which translates to “Not working today.” Holt, 24, has had hearings scheduled every month since September but in every case the judge failed to appear. Venezuelan officials allege he was using his wife’s apartment to stockpile weapons and have suggested his case is linked to other unspecified attempts by the US government to undermine President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist rule.