June 5th, 2017 | Victims of Communism

Victims of Communism — Memorial Foundation

June 5th, 2017


On Tiananmen Square Anniversary, Detentions in China and Candlelight Vigil in Hong Kong
Police detained at least eleven Chinese activists after a pair of small events to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, according to human rights groups and activists. Meanwhile, thousands gathered in Hong Kong for the annual candlelight vigil to remember the events of June 4, 1989, which have gained added poignancy in recent years in view of a continuing struggle for democracy there. Tiananmen Square and the rest of Beijing are habitually placed under tight security for the anniversary. Few young Chinese people appear to have much knowledge or even interest in the events of June 4, 1989. That has followed nearly three decades of propaganda and censorship by the Communist Party aimed at suppressing and rewriting history.


“Like Prisoners of War:” North Koreans Labor Behind Russia 2018 World Cup
A test opening of St Petersburg’s Zenit Arena in February treated 10,000 spectators to car racing, motorcycle tricks, dancers and a performing bear introduced as “Russia’s greatest hero”. But the patriotic ceremony failed to note that the stadium, in which Russia kick off the Confederations Cup in a fortnight in preparation for next year’s World Cup, was built mostly by immigrant workers from Asia, including from one of the world’s most repressive countries, North Korea.  A subcontractor who asked to remain anonymous said at least 190 “downtrodden” North Koreans had worked long hours with no days off between August and November last year and that one, a 47-year-old, had died on site. “They’re like prisoners of war,” the subcontractor said. An employee of a North Korean state company that brings workers to Russia told the Observer at a St Petersburg construction site that the men often worked long hours and had to give part of their pay to the regime in Pyongyang to “facilitate the country’s defense,” which includes its nuclear weapons programmer.

North Korea Rejects New Sanctions to Continue Nuclear Program
Christine Kim and Soyoung Kim, REUTERS
North Korea “fully rejects” the latest UN sanctions against its citizens and entities as a “hostile act” and will continue its nuclear weapons development without a delay, its foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday. The UN Security Council on Friday expanded targeted sanctions against North Korea after its repeated missile tests, adopting the first such resolution agreed by the United States and Pyongyang’s only major ally China since US President Donald Trump took office. The sanctions resolution “is a crafty hostile act with the purpose of putting a curb on the DPRK’s buildup of nuclear forces, disarming it and causing economic suffocation to it,” the foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by its official KCNA news agency.


China Detains More Than 40 Tibetans Amid Clash Over Water Rights
Authorities in China’s Qinghai province have arrested more than forty Tibetans following a clash between villagers and police over water rights that left dozens injured, according to Tibetan sources. On June 1, Tibetans from Shitsa village, in Tsoshar (in Chinese, Haidong) prefecture’s Bayen (Hualong) Hui autonomous county, confronted authorities over plans to divert a waterway supplying their village to nearby Tharga village, the residents of which are mostly Hui Muslim, the sources said. “The river flowing within the territory of Shitsa village was to be diverted towards Tharga village, which is inhabited by Muslims and this was resisted by the Tibetan villagers,” Dorjee Bum, a Tibetan living in exile who asked that his location not be revealed, told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Friday.


Venezuela Eyes Assembly Vote in July; Man Set Ablaze Dies
Alexandra Ulmer and Deisy Buitrago, REUTERS
Venezuela’s government is set to press ahead with a vote to elect a constituent assembly on July 30, an official said on Sunday, prompting the opposition to blast the body as a sham designed to keep embattled President Nicolás Maduro in power.  Adding to tensions in two months of sustained anti-government unrest, a young man who was set on fire last month during a protest died on Sunday. Beset by near-daily street protests, Maduro in May announced a plan for a “constituent assembly” with powers to rewrite the constitution, in what he says is a bid to bring peace back to the oil-rich nation. But opponents say Maduro, helped by a compliant Supreme Court and National Electoral Council, is in fact seeking to dodge national elections and ignored protester demands for an end to crushing food and medicine shortages. “We’re going to propose to the National Electoral Council (CNE) for its approval… the date of July 30,” the head of the CNE, Tibisay Lucena, said in a speech transmitted on state television on Sunday.