China Charges Activist Over Tiananmen Massacre T-Shirt And Friends Who “Sheltered” Her
RADIO FREE ASIA
A rights activist who publicly commemorated the June 4, 1989 military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square student movement last year is being mistreated in detention as she awaits trial on public order charges, her lawyer told RFA on Friday. Li Xiaoling will stand trial on charges of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble” after she wore a T-shirt with a commemorative slogan on Tiananmen Square last year, her lawyer Lin Qilei said after visiting her in detention on Thursday. Li was transferred to the Xicheng Detention Center in Guangdong’s Zhuhai city after she complained about her treatment at the hands of police. Now, she is being held without access to daily exercise, and is unable to buy food or daily necessities such as medicines via an internal account, as other prisoners are.
Communist Party Rebukes China’s Internet Watchdog for “Lax” Control Over Cyberspace
Nectar Gan, SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
China’s internet regulator has been strongly criticized by Communist Party inspectors for failing to act determinedly and quickly to enforce Communist Party leader’s Xi Jinping’s policies on controlling cyberspace. The stern criticism from the party’s top discipline watchdog came after officers conducted a month-long inspection of the Cyberspace Administration from early March to early April. Ning Yanling, the head of the inspection team, said the internet regulator had “for a period not carried out general secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions and requirements resolutely and promptly enough,” according to a statement on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. It was also criticized for lacking “a sense of political responsibility” and failing to implement the central leadership’s major decisions and policies on cyberspace in a satisfying manner.
North Korea Sees Humanitarian Aid As Leverage
Brian Padden, VOICE OF AMERICA
So far North Korea has rejected South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s offers of unconditional humanitarian aid and cooperation. The government in Seoul has approved numerous requests from private charities to offer assistance to help alleviate the rampant poverty and poor health conditions in North Korea, where 84 percent of households have “borderline or poor food consumption,” one-third of children suffer from malnutrition, and the infant mortality rate is 33 percent, according to the United Nations. But the Kim Jong-un government in Pyongyang has not permitted these overtures, citing Seoul’s support for UN Security Council sanctions adopted to punish Pyongyang’s recent missile provocations. Many aid projects are also waiting for approval from North Korea. The North Korean state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial last week that, “Nobody can expect relations to improve just because they allow some humanitarian aid or civilian exchanges that the previous conservative clique halted.”
North Korea Party Officials Monopolize Local Market Stands
RADIO FREE ASIA
High-ranking officials in North Korea’s ruling party are monopolizing local markets that are permitted to operate outside the influence of the state as part of economic reforms and illegally renting out stands to the public for exorbitant rates, according to sources inside the country. The Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of [North] Korea strictly prohibits the party’s judicial and political executive members or their families from entering into business in local markets but regulations protecting the sector are routinely ignored, the sources said. One source from North Hamgyong province, near the border with China, recently told RFA’s Korean Service that party executive members are “competing with one another” to take possession of local market stands, lured by the prospect of high profits. “Word is getting around among North Korean residents that being judicial and political party executives means having the power to make money,” the source said.
Navalny Arrested as Anti-Kremlin Protests Roll Across Russia
Neil MacFarquhar and Andrew Higgins, THE NEW YORK TIMES
A wave of antigovernment demonstrations rolled across Russia on Monday as people gathered in scores of cities to protest corruption and political stagnation despite vigorous attempts by the authorities to thwart or ban the rallies. The police detained the architect of the national protests, the Kremlin critic Aleksei A. Navalny, as he emerged from his apartment building to attend a rally that he had forced into the center of Moscow in the face of efforts by the city to limit it to a secondary boulevard. There were scattered reports of detentions elsewhere, too. Mr. Navalny’s wife posted a picture of the detention on his Twitter account with the caption “Happy Russia Day!”—referring to the national holiday on Monday. In addition, workers at his headquarters reported that their electricity and internet connection, used to transmit updates from around the country, had been severed.
Taiwan Lawmakers Launch Support Group For Hong Kong Democracy
CHANNEL NEWS ASIA
Lawmakers in Taiwan launched a new group to help promote democracy in Hong Kong on Monday, a move likely to rile Beijing ahead of the 20th anniversary of the handover of the city from Britain back to China. Taiwan and Hong Kong are thorns in Beijing’s side—both saw huge anti-China protests in 2014, known respectively as the Sunflower Movement and Umbrella Movement. Ties with self-ruling Taiwan have worsened under China-skeptic President Tsai Ing-wen, who took office last year. In semi-autonomous Hong Kong, frustration at a lack of political reform and fears that freedoms are under threat have led to the emergence of groups calling for self-determination or even independence from China, infuriating Beijing. The new “Taiwan Congressional Hong Kong Caucus” comprises 18 lawmakers who say they want to help promote democracy in Hong Kong, including Huang Kuo-chang—one of the leaders of the Sunflower Movement and now a lawmaker with the New Power Party, which he heads.
Lawmakers: China Gaining Influence Over US Allies
Joel Gehrke, WASHINGTON EXAMINER
US leaders are increasingly worried that China is gaining influence over traditional American allies, as the rising communist power charts a more aggressive foreign policy course. Those concerns are primed most recently by the new South Korean president’s decision to suspend deployment of a US missile defense system, known as a THAAD. American and South Korean officials agreed in recent years that the THAAD is necessary protection against North Korea, but China fears that the system could undermine the power of its own nuclear arsenal. So they demanded an “immediate” halt to the deployment of the system, backed up by economic measures to hurt the South Korean economy. South Korea complied. “It’s my fear that he thinks—I hope I’m wrong—that [Moon] thinks that South Korea has a better chance working with China to contain North Korea than working with the United States,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told the Washington Examiner.
Venezuela’s Maduro Says Children Used In Protest Violence, Will Write To Pope
Eyanir Chinea and Girish Gupta, REUTERS
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said he would ask Pope Francis to persuade opponents that children should not participate in violent protests that have rocked the country, as both sides of the conflict seek help from the Catholic Church. Young teenagers wearing face masks and throwing rocks are a common sight at anti-government protests that have roiled the capital, Caracas, since April. At least six of the 67 people killed in the protests were under 18. Maduro said opposition parties were “training children for terrorist groups,” using his preferred terminology for the protesters he says are intent on overthrowing the government of the oil-producing nation. “I am going to ask Pope Francis to help us so the opposition ends the violence, but more than anything to stop looking for children to involve in violent acts,” he said on a weekly television broadcast.
Peru Leader Warns of Venezuela “Blood Bath”
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has called on the international community to take action to avoid “a blood bath” in Venezuela. Sixty-seven people have been killed in protest-related violence in Venezuela since mass anti-government protests started on April 1. “There’s no democracy in Venezuela. There was an election, but now a large part of the population doesn’t feel represented,” Mr. Kuczynski said. He suggested that an international commission be formed to resolve the crisis in Venezuela. He said that while action by the international community could be seen as “an interference,” it would be “to safeguard democracy.” The Peruvian leader said that if no action was taken there would be a risk of “a bloodbath, that people may flee to Colombia, that others leave by boat.” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez reacted to those talks by calling Mr. Kuczynski a “dog” who is subservient to the US.