July 6th, 2017 | Victims of Communism

Victims of Communism — Memorial Foundation

July 6th, 2017


Chinese Hospital Invites Cancer Experts To Help Treat Nobel Laureate
A Chinese hospital treating the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has invited cancer experts from the United States, Germany and other nations to join his team of doctors, judicial officials said in a brief statement Wednesday. Mr. Liu, 61, was found to have advanced liver cancer in May and granted parole to move from prison to a hospital in Shenyang in late June. He had been sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” by helping organize the Charter 08 manifesto, which called for democratic reforms in China. He was in prison in 2010 when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded him the peace prize for “his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” He became the third person to win the prize while under government detention.

Airbus Signs Deal To Sell 140 Planes Worth $23 Billion To China
Victoria Bryan, REUTERS
Airbus has signed an agreement to sell 140 aircraft to China, it said on Wednesday, in a deal worth almost $23 billion at list prices. The agreement, signed during a visit by Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping to Germany, is for 100 A320 family aircraft and 40 A350 planes, Airbus said. “It’s one of the biggest deals that we’ve signed in a long time,” Airbus Group Chief Executive Tom Enders told journalists after signing the deal in Berlin. The planes will be purchased by state-owned China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, which will then allocate them to Chinese airlines. The A320 planes will be a mixture of the older CEO and the new NEO version with revamped engines, while the majority of the A350 orders are for the -900 model. The deal is flexible pending negotiations with the airlines. Enders said he expected up to 50 percent of the A320 family planes would come from the Airbus final assembly line in China.


European Parliament Approves First EU-Cuba Pact
The European Parliament overwhelmingly approved Wednesday a first-ever cooperation deal between the EU and Cuba, despite lingering concerns about human rights violations in the communist-ruled country. Lawmakers in the eastern French city of Strasbourg approved the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement, signed in December 2016, which is widely seen as a European riposte to US President Donald Trump’s hardline stance against Havana. “Europe has a great opportunity to demonstrate to the United States, which intends to withdraw, that it is possible to maintain the highest level of expectations on Cuba” and normalize relations with Havana, said MEP Elena Valenciano, the rapporteur of the agreement. With the deal, Cuba joins other Latin American countries with similar agreements with the EU.

Defections to US Rob Cuba Of Superpower Baseball Status
Like the one-and-done rule that has diluted the talent level of college basketball in the US, defections to the US have robbed Cuba of its superpower status in baseball. Team Castro reached the final of the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 but hasn’t been back to the title game in three subsequent competitions. It has gone without a gold medal in Olympic baseball since 2004, though the sport was dropped from the Olympic program after the 2008 Games. Its gold-medal drought at the Pan American Games extends to 2007, after Cuba won 10 straight and 11 of 12 beginning in 1961, two years after “the Triumph of the Revolution,” as Castro’s takeover is officially referred to here. The defection of such next-generation stars as José Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig is one reason for the falloff. So is a conscious decision by Cuban sports officials to keep some of the best young players home from international competition to lessen the chances of them leaving.


Kim Vows North Korea’s Nukes Are Not On Negotiation Table
Foster Klug and Hyung-jin Kim, ASSOCIATED PRESS
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed Wednesday his nation will “demonstrate its mettle to the US” and never put its weapons programs up for negotiations, a day after test-launching its first intercontinental ballistic missile. The hard line suggests more tests are being prepared as the country tries to perfect nuclear-armed missiles capable of striking anywhere in the United States. Tuesday’s ICBM launch, confirmed by US and South Korean officials, is a milestone in North Korea’s efforts to develop long-range missiles with nuclear warheads. It isn’t there yet—some analysts suggest it will take several more years and many more tests to perfect such an arsenal—but a successful launch of an ICBM has long been seen as a red line after which it would only be a matter of time if North Korea isn’t stopped.

A Photographer Captured These Surreal Photos On A Tour Of North Korea’s Capital
The Trump administration is weighing new legislation that would ban US citizens from traveling to North Korea, following the death of American student Otto Warmbier. Despite warnings from the US Department of State over the years that visitors stepping into the DPRK risk arrest and long-term detention, approximately 100,000 people—including some Americans—visit the hermit kingdom annually. Tourists may travel independently or go through a state-sanctioned travel agency. They are supervised from the moment they arrive. In 2016, photographer Raphael Olivier booked an architecture-themed tour of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, and captured these remarkable images. “The first word that comes to mind would be eerie,” Olivier told Business Insider of the general atmosphere in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Watching Foreign Movies Is Illegal In North Korea, But Some Do It Anyway
Danny Hajek, NPR
When Yeonmi Park was a young girl in North Korea’s Ryanggang Province, near the Chinese border, she went to her uncle’s house to watch TV. But this wasn’t the usual state-run broadcast praising the “Dear Leader.” The movie she watched at her uncle’s house was illegal. She covered the windows with blankets, turned the volume down low and huddled in close around the TV. She watched a pirated copy of Titanic. “When I saw that movie for the first time, I was very confused,” Park says. “I never heard my father telling my mother that he loved her. And my mother never told me she loved me, either. To me, love was only expressed [for] the Dear Leader. So, it was a very odd concept to me—how can a man die for a woman?” By the time Park, now 23, escaped North Korea in 2007, she’d seen James Bond films, South Korean dramas—even American wrestling matches. “Just for a couple of hours, you forget about how life is so hard,” says Park, who now lives in the US. “Almost dreaming about a different planet.” Park’s experience doesn’t reflect the North Korea we think we know—and her story is not unique.


In North Korea, “Surgical Strike” Could Spin Into “Worst Kind of Fighting”
On Wednesday, the Trump administration made a point of threatening a military response to North Korea. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of the American forces that conducted a missile exercise with South Korea, said the United States had chosen “self-restraint” with the North. Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said her country’s “considerable military forces” were an option. “We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that direction,” she told the Security Council. But the military options are more grim than ever. Even the most limited strike risks staggering casualties, because North Korea could retaliate with the thousands of artillery pieces it has positioned along its border with the South. Though the arsenal is of limited range and could be destroyed in days, the United States defense secretary, Jim Mattis, recently warned that if North Korea used it, it “would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.”


Venezuela’s Dissident State Prosecutor Expects To Be Fired
Deisy Buitrago and Alexandra Ulmer, REUTERS
Venezuela’s pro-government Supreme Court heard a petition on Tuesday to remove dissident state prosecutor Luisa Ortega, who was expecting the ax after alleging rights abuses and erosion of democracy under President Maduro. Ortega, the main challenger to Maduro from within the ruling socialist movement during three months of opposition protests, said she would not recognize legal proceedings against her by an “unconstitutional and illegitimate” Supreme Court. The internal fissure has emboldened anti-Maduro protesters, who have been staging near-daily demonstrations since April to demand early elections amid a devastating economic crisis that has millions struggling to eat properly. “We already know they’re going to remove me today,” said Ortega in a speech at her office, slamming what she said was a “spurious” case designed to silence her. “It appears that defending the constitution constitutes a crime,” she said, waving a small blue book of the charter written under Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, the late Hugo Chavez, in 1999.

Lawmakers Hurt In Clashes At Venezuelan National Assembly
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Supporters of embattled Venezuelan President Maduro who stormed the opposition-controlled National Assembly in Caracas on Wednesday attacked and injured several lawmakers, witnesses said. The Independence Day clashes are the latest outbreak of violence in a country struggling with a deepening economic crisis and sometimes bloody street protests calling for a change of government. Video and images showed government supporters—some wearing bandanas and carrying Venezuela’s tricolor flag—storming the assembly building and pushing open its massive wooden doors. They were armed with pipes, sticks and stones, witnesses said. Inside, blood stained the floors and walls of the assembly hall as wounded lawmakers were tended to by colleagues. At least seven legislative employees and five lawmakers have been injured, according to National Assembly President Julio Borges. Journalists inside the assembly building said that they had also been assaulted. Before ending a military parade on the 206th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Maduro condemned the violence and said “strange facts always occur with the opposition.”


Vietnam Drills For Oil In South China Sea
Bill Hayton, BBC
Vietnam has begun drilling for oil in an area of the resource-rich South China Sea also claimed by China. An oil industry consultant told the BBC that a drilling ship on contract to international firm Talisman-Vietnam was working off Vietnam’s south-east coast. This appears to be why a senior Chinese general cut short an official visit to Vietnam last month. China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including reefs and islands also contested by other nations. According to Ian Cross, of Singapore-based Moyes & Co, the drillship Deepsea Metro I, began to drill in an area of sea about 400km (250 miles) off the Vietnamese coast on 21 June. It is likely that the news was kept secret because of its extreme sensitivity.