China Backs Hun Sen’s Tyranny
Taylor McDonald, ASEAN Economist
Cambodia is fast removing any pretence that Prime Minister Hun Sen is interested in democracy, secure in the knowledge it has the backing of its ally to the north. A former Khmer Rouge cadre, Hun Sen, fled Cambodia in 1977 and returned with the Vietnamese military during that country’s war against the savage regime in 1979. He was first appointed foreign minister and was named prime minister in the Vietnamese-supported government in 1985. But his allegiance has since shifted away from Hanoi to the Khmer Rouge’s backers in Beijing.
Hong Kong’s National Anthem Law: A Compulsory Expression Of Patriotism?
SC Yeung, Hong Kong Economic Journal
Hong Kong and the United States are embroiled in a deepening controversy over national anthems. In both instances, the issue is not the anthem itself but freedom of expression, particularly the right to protest. Hong Kong has had a few brushes with national anthem protests at sporting events. Some political analysts said Beijing’s recent legislation of a national anthem law was mainly prompted by Hong Kong football fans’ “misbehavior.”
Xinjiang Cancels National Day Holiday Ahead Of Party Congress
All government entities in northwest China’s Xinjiang region were ordered to remain open during the country’s annual “Golden Week” holiday, officials said, as part of a ‘stability’ drive ahead of a sensitive ruling Communist Party congress session scheduled for next week. The Xinjiang government under region chief Chen Quanguo issued an urgent announcement cancelling the Oct. 1-8 National Day holiday—a first for the region—at the start of last week for all government offices, universities, and state-owned corporations. The notice ordered employees to work through the period and, in some cases, during the weekend.
Cuba Health Attack Victim Says Complaints “Were Ignored”
Steve Dorsey, CBS News
One of the 22 medically confirmed Americans injured by unexplained attacks in Havana, Cuba, tells CBS News the US response to injured embassy personnel was handled “poorly” and that their complaints were ignored by senior embassy leadership and top officials at the State Department in Washington for months. The person, who was not authorized to talk to reporters, is the first victim to speak publicly about the attacks since they began nearly a year ago. The victim says the State Department pressured some US embassy officials injured by the attacks to remain on the island and waited to too long to withdraw non-essential staff and all families from Havana on September 29.
Cuba’s Vice President Says Reports Of Sonic Attacks Against Diplomats Are “Tall Tales”
Nora Gámez Torres, The Miami Herald
In his most important speech so far this year, the possible successor to Raúl Castro described accusations made by the US government of sonic attacks targeting nearly two dozen of its diplomats stationed in Cuba as “tall tales.” “Some spokespeople and the media lend themselves to propagating unbelievable tall tales, without any evidence, with the perverse purpose of discrediting the impeccable performance of our country, universally considered a safe destination for foreign visitors, including Americans,” First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel said at the event held Sunday in Santa Clara for the 50th anniversary of the death of Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Hosting Proms and Selling Cows: North Korean Embassies Scrounge For Cash
David Segal, The New York Times
While the embassies of most countries promote the interests of companies back home, North Korea’s are in business for themselves. Despite a series of tough sanctions, Pyongyang has held on to an array of profit-making ventures, some of which operate in the roughly 40 embassies of the hermit kingdom. North Korean embassies have spent decades running cash-raising schemes, nearly all of them illicit under current international law. Diplomats and their underlings have brokered deals for weapons and drugs, and more mundane products like machine tools and cows.
UN Bans Four Ships Over North Korea Coal, US Delays Four More
Michelle Nichols, Reuters
The United Nations Security Council has banned four ships from ports globally for carrying coal from North Korea, including one vessel that also had ammunition, but the United States postponed a bid to blacklist four others pending further investigation. The vessels are the first to be designated under stepped-up sanctions imposed on North Korea by the 15-member council in August and September over Pyongyang’s sixth and largest nuclear test and two long-range ballistic missile launches.
Czech President, PM Clash Over Russia Sanctions For Crimea Annexation
The Czech Republic’s top two officials have clashed over the country’s support for European Union sanctions against Russia. President Milos Zeman questioned the effectiveness of the sanctions that were imposed following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014. Zeman said that Moscow’s move was a “fait accompli” and that there should be dialogue over Russian compensation to Ukraine, possibly with gas, oil, or money. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka swiftly rejected Zeman’s comments, saying they were “in sharp contradiction of our foreign policy” and that the president “had no mandate” to make the speech.
After Bloodshed, Venezuelan Government And Foes Battle For Votes
Andrew Cawthorne and Francisco Aguilar, Reuters
This year’s prolonged protests failed to bring down the government of President Nicolas Maduro, but they hardened global opinion against the ruling socialists and led to U.S. sanctions. Now, opposition leaders want their demoralized supporters to turn out en masse at the gubernatorial polls to overturn Maduro’s majority in 20 of Venezuela’s 23 states. The government, in turn, wants to minimize seemingly inevitable losses, and trumpet the election as proof against accusations of autocracy in Venezuela.
Jailed Vietnamese Activist in Failing Health, Denied Family Phone Calls
A Vietnamese land rights activist sentenced to an eight-year prison term on charges of attempting to overthrow the government is in failing health and has not been allowed to speak to her family by phone since being jailed, her brother says. Tran Thi Thuy, 45, was arrested in 2010 for petitioning for redress for land confiscated by authorities, and was sentenced next year under Article 79 of Vietnam’s Penal Code for “carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration.” Her health has steadily declined in prison.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
October 11th, 1954: The communist-backed Viet Minh take control of North Vietnam.
General Casimir Pulaski Day: A US national holiday honoring General Kazimierz Pułaski, a Polish general who assisted the Continental Army during the Revolution, and commemorating Polish-American heritage.