June 20th, 2017 | Victims of Communism

Victims of Communism — Memorial Foundation

June 20th, 2017


China Universities Accused Of Ideological Weakness
China’s anti-corruption watchdog has accused 14 top universities of ideological infractions after a months-long investigation, as the country’s ruling Communist party broadens its political control over educational institutions. “Ideological and political work is relatively weak, and the implementation of ideological systems is not strong enough,” said a report by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), criticizing the party committees at each university and urging them to “take responsibility” for their shortcomings. The assessment comes after teams of CCDI inspectors were dispatched to 29 universities earlier this year with the remit of “upholding the party’s leadership and party-building” and to root out “political bias.” Since 2012, China has tightened political control over all spheres of civil society including educational institutions, particularly those with foreign connections.

China Launches Crackdown On Academic Fraud
Yuan Yang & Archie Zhang, FINANCIAL TIMES
Chinese authorities are cracking down on academic fraud after an international medical journal retracted 107 Chinese-authored papers from the past five years, in the biggest case to date of fake peer reviews to endorse research. China’s ministry of science and technology said this week that the incident had “seriously harmed the international reputation of our country’s scientific research and the dignity of Chinese scientists at large.” The government pledged to investigate the papers’ authors and may strip them of their academic roles. All grant funding to the academics involved has been halted. China’s race to become a world leader in science and technology has led it to become the second-biggest source of academic publications globally. However, the pressure applied to academics to publish or perish has had adverse effects, said Zhang Yuehong, an editor of the Journal of Zhejiang University. In recent years, China has seen a surge in academic scandals in medicine and biology.


Cuba’s Foreign Minister Rejects Trump’s New Policy Toward Island
Michael Weissenstein and Andrea Rodriquez, NBC
Cuba’s foreign minister has rejected President Donald Trump’s new policy toward the island, saying “we will never negotiate under pressure or under threat” and refusing to return US fugitives who have received asylum in Cuba. In a hard-edged response to the policy announced Friday, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said from Vienna Monday that Trump’s restrictions on transactions with the Cuban military would not achieve their objective of weakening the government. He said they would instead create unity behind the communist leadership. He described fugitives such as Joanne Chesimard, a black militant convicted of the murder of a New Jersey state trooper, as political refugees who had received asylum from the Cuban government and would not be returned because the US has no “legal or moral basis” to demand their return.


Top North Korean Nuclear Negotiator Secretly Met With U.S. Diplomats
For more than a year, American diplomats have held secret talks in Pyongyang and European cities with North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator, hoping to free US prisoners and even establish a diplomatic channel to constrain North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. The official dispatched by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un—Madame Choi Sun Hee—is well known to US officials, fluent in English and is believed to have direct access to Mr. Kim. That raised expectations that the regime eventually might engage with the Trump administration about the future of Pyongyang’s weapons efforts. So did the agreed release this month of 22-year-old American prisoner Otto Warmbier, until it emerged he was in a coma. Madame Choi was a major player in nuclear and missile negotiations that took place both during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, current and former US officials said. Her official title now is the Director-General of the North America Affairs Bureau of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry.

North Korea Accuses US Of “Mugging” Its Diplomats in New York
North Korea on Sunday accused United States officials of “mugging” its diplomats at Kennedy International Airport by seizing a diplomatic package they were carrying. A North Korean delegation, returning home from a United Nations conference in New York, was about to board a plane on Friday when more than 20 agents and police officers from the Department of Homeland Security confiscated the package, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying. “As the diplomats vigorously resisted, they grabbed the diplomatic package using physical violence and made off,” he said, adding that the North Koreans were carrying a valid diplomatic courier certificate. “This clearly shows that the US is a felonious and lawless gangster state,” he said. “The US should reflect on its reckless act and be fully aware of the grave consequences to follow.”

Demand For South Korean Goods Sours Among Executives in the North
North Korean executives are driving up demand for products made in rival South Korea and selling them to the regime’s high-ranking officers, despite an order by the North’s leader Kim Jong-un for citizens to buy only domestically manufactured goods. People who work in upper management positions at North Korea foreign currency-generating firms, such as cross-border traders, are smuggling in South Korean consumer products to sell to high-ranking officers in the Korean Workers’ Party in the capital Pyongyang. Some North Koreans covet cosmetics, electronics, and other items made in South Korea, viewing them as financial status symbols. “Demand for South Korean products is constantly increasing among high-ranking officials in North Korea,” said a Korean-Chinese source from Dandong in northeastern China’s Liaoning province. North Korean executives of foreign currency-generating enterprises in China often have Korean-Chinese people as middlemen to procure South Korean products, he said.


Many Cuban Exiles Embrace Trump Policy But Want More
Many Cuban exiles in Miami are embracing the changes President Donald Trump announced Friday to his predecessor’s policies of engagement with the communist island—but some want even more. Hard-line exiles agreed with Trump’s move to roll back some of the changes by restricting commerce with entities linked to Cuba’s military, restoring tougher travel rules and other moves in hopes of forcing Cuba toward democracy. While Trump gave his speech, a hundred activists about evenly divided between supporters and opponents of the president chanted and held up signs outside the venue, the Manuel Artime Theater, named after a late political leader of Cuban exiles who launched the failed Bay of Pigs uprising in 1961. Cuban-born poet Armando Valladares, who was imprisoned for 22 years by the government of then-Cuban leader Fidel Castro, said at a weekly luncheon of Cuban exiles that he is vexed that not all of Obama’s changes were rolled back.”

Warmbier’s Death Puts Focus On North Korean Human Rights Violations
Brian Padden, VOA
US student Otto Warmbier’s tragic death Monday, after being released from a North Korean prison in a coma, has again put an international focus on the widespread human rights violations allegedly being committed by the Kim Jong Un government. US officials have said they are concerned about three Korean-Americans who remain held in North Korea. The US government accuses North Korea of using such detainees as political pawns. North Korea accuses Washington and South Korea of sending spies to overthrow its government. “The North Korean regime also wages war on their own citizens,” said Marion Smith, the director of The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, in a statement on Monday.


Venezuela Soldiers Guard Chavez Symbols In Seething Heartland
Andrew Cawthorne, REUTERS
In the dozy agricultural town of Hugo Chavez’s birth, soldiers guard an immense statue of the former Venezuelan leader while nearby opposition activists dream of pulling it down. The Russian-donated sculpture of a fist-clenched Chavez, in a square of Sabaneta near where he was born in a mud hut, has withstood nearly three months of anti-government unrest that has convulsed Venezuela since April and killed more than 70 people. “It will fall one day soon, you’ll see,” said activist Angel Dorante, noting the vandalism and destruction of Chavez statues and symbols elsewhere in Venezuela. Locals have been banging pots and pans at night and took to the streets recently during a power cut. They were dispersed by security forces with tear gas, witnesses said. In the tatty state capital Barinas, where Chavez studied and lived as a youth, the trouble has been far worse. Many people have turned on the ruling Socialist Party in a poor region that was once their heartland of support. Even though much of the attention has been on the capital Caracas, Barinas has seen the worst of the anti-government unrest. Violence on May 22-23 left seven people dead, hundreds of shops looted and the city’s half million people traumatized.

Venezuela Walks Out Of America’s Summit In Mexico
Venezuela’s foreign minister walked out of a meeting of diplomats from across the Americas gathered in Mexico on Monday to discuss the ongoing political crisis in the South American country. Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez claimed that more members of the Organization of American States were considering leaving the group, which has been putting pressure on Venezuela’s government to hold timely elections, free political prisoners and scrap a bid to rewrite its constitution. “Not only do we not recognize this meeting, we do not recognize any resolution coming out of it,” Rodriguez said as she left the meeting being held in the Mexican resort of Cancun. Leaders of Monday’s meeting had suggested they were close to some kind of pronouncement aimed at ending the increasingly bloody political strife in Venezuela, which has left nearly 70 people dead, hundreds injured and thousands detained in months of protests. But so far the nations of the Western Hemisphere have been unable to reach consensus on the matter.