Beijing Hinders Free Speech in America
Wang Dan, NYT
I spent nearly seven years in a Chinese prison for being a leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. I was freed in 1998, and the Chinese government let me leave the country. I chose to go to the United States, where I could freely speak my mind without fear of being thrown in prison. Over the past three months, my efforts on American campuses have been stymied. The Chinese Communist Party is extending its surveillance of critics abroad, reaching into Western academic communities and silencing visiting Chinese students. Through a campaign of fear and intimidation, Beijing is hindering free speech in the United States and in other Western countries.
China’s Charm Offensive In Eastern Europe Challenges EU Cohesion
Lucrezia Poggetti, The Diplomat
Hungary in recent months has been associated with a Belt and Road fiasco, as work for the Hungarian stretch of the Belgrade-Budapest railway—China’s most ambitious transport project in Europe—has been halted for allegedly violating EU public procurement laws. But next Monday setbacks will be glossed over by grandiose symbolism as the Hungarian capital prepares itself to welcome the heads of government of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC).
China Jails Taiwan Activist Lee Ming-che For “Subversion”
A Chinese court has sentenced a Taiwanese activist to five years in jail for “subverting state power.” Lee Ming-che went on trial in September for attempting to promote multi-party democracy in group messaging chats. His case has gripped Taiwan, which has called for Mr. Lee’s safe return, and has further strained the island’s relations with China. Taiwan’s presidential office has criticised the sentence, saying: “We cannot accept this.”
Chinese “Security” Company Was a Den of Hackers, Feds Say
Kevin Poulsen, The Daily Beast
An obscure Chinese computer security firm acted as a front for a sophisticated hacking operation dedicated to siphoning secrets from targets around the world, according to federal prosecutors who’ve charged two officers and an employee of the firm for hacks against Siemens AG, Moody’s Analytics and the GPS technology company Trimble. The Chinese firm, called Boyusec stole hundreds of gigabytes of data, including confidential business and commercial information, work product, and sensitive victim employee information, such as usernames and password.
A Dissident Cuban Artist Reflects On The Anniversary Of Castro’s Death
Zach Young, Huffington Post
On the night Fidel Castro died, Danilo Maldonado Machado went for a walk in downtown Havana. The streets were peaceful; most residents of the city were asleep or at home listening to the news. Maldonado took out his smartphone and starting recording a video of himself. “Here we are on [Avenue] 23,” he laughed, leaning against a street sign. “El año que se murió la yegua.”
Armando Hart, Castro Loyalist During Cuban Revolution, Dies At 87
Michael Weissenstein, Washington Post
Armando Hart, a leading figure during the Cuban revolution who oversaw a literacy campaign that tried to ensure that all Cubans could read and write and spent much of his career as culture minister, died Nov. 26 in Havana. He was 87. Cuban state media said the cause was respiratory failure. Designated education minister shortly after the 1959 revolutionary triumph that put Fidel Castro in power, Mr. Hart was tasked with sending more than 100,000 volunteers across the island for the literacy campaign. He served six years in the post and then was organization secretary for the newly formed Communist Party.
Nicaragua’s Sham Elections Highlight the Continued Erosion of Democratic Freedoms
Ana Rosa Quintana and Lauren Hand, The Daily Signal
Earlier this month, Nicaragua held local elections for the country’s 153 mayoral seats. The ruling leftist National Liberation Sandinista Front won 135 of the seats, leaving only 18 seats under opposition control. This puts the leftists in control of the presidency, the national assembly, the judiciary, and local-level government offices. While international electoral observers have found weaknesses in the small Central American country’s electoral system, they do not believe that decisive fraud occurred in this month’s elections. Opposition groups claim differently.
South Korea Broadcasts Defector’s Daring Escape “In Great Detail” On Loudspeakers
Jane Onyanga-Omara, US News & World Report
South Korea is broadcasting news of a North Korean soldier’s daring escape on loudspeakers to his former colleagues across the border, South Korean media reported. The soldier, 24, who was only identified by his surname “Oh” by doctors, was shot five times by his fellow service members as he dashed across the border on Nov.13. He is recovering after undergoing surgery at a hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul. The broadcasts, reported by the South’s Yonhap news agency, are part of Seoul’s continuing campaign of psychological warfare against soldiers and others along the border in the North.
Russia Is Killing What Little Independent Press It Has
Mikhail Fishman, CNN
In April 2012, shortly after Vladimir Putin had been re-elected as President and returned to his throne in the Kremlin following a four-year intermission as prime minister, protest demonstrations broke out in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan. A local political activist, who was running for mayor but lost, went on a hunger strike after what he claimed was a totally rigged election. The crowds rallied in the streets in his support, echoing the Bolotnaya Square protest movement in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Ukraine “Extremely Concerned” Council Of Europe Caving To Russian “Blackmail”
Ukrainian officials and politicians have reacted with alarm to reports that the Council of Europe is considering lifting sanctions imposed against Russia over its military intervention in Crimea out of fears that Moscow might otherwise leave the body. “We are extremely concerned,” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), told RFE/RL from Strasbourg on November 27. “The issue now goes far beyond interests of Ukraine. It’s in the interests of the entire region to defend the Council of Europe from Russian blackmail and leaning toward Russia.”
Former Soviet Dissident Says Foreign Policy Styled After Realpolitik “Absolutely Wrong”
Natalie Liu, VOA
In an interview with VOA on the sidelines of events organized by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation marking the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution, Natan Sharansky recalls his battles with the KGB and calls on leaders of the free world to take up the mantle left by visionaries such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and continue the legacy of democracy.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
November 28th, 1989: Amid the Velvet Revolution, the Czechoslovak Communist Party officially renounces its monopoly on power, paving the way for pluralistic elections.